In Battle Over Lap Dance Tax, Strip Club Attorneys Accuse City Of Witness Intimidation

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Day two of the battle over the city’s plan to tax strip club lap dances (see related story) included testimony from dancers. But the hottest words came from attorneys for the clubs, who accused the city of witness intimidation.

Two dancers from Club Risque explained to the Tax Review Board how they perform and charge for lap dances. And that club’s attorney, George Bochetto, pointedly accused the city’s attorney of trying to intimidate other witnesses by bringing up their own tax status. “The clubs are being persecuted,” he said.

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That charge was echoed by the attorney for Delilah’s, Stephen Howard.

“The city solicitor says she’s going to pass that on to the Revenue Department for audit,” Howard said. “The city solicitor is questioning the witnesses about business privilege tax licenses, how much money they make. Quite frankly, it’s just outrageous. It’s nothing but witness intimidation.”

READ: Strip Club Owners Claim Lap Dances Are Classic ‘American Theater’

The city’s attorney, Marissa O’Connell, denied intimidation. “The clubs are not being persecuted,” she told the board, “they are being audited.”

The hearing resumes next week.

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