Jameson Club Inspires Increased Scrutiny

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.— Jenna Jameson has apparently inspired fear in the hearts of men, or at least in the hearts of those who run the city planning department in Scottsdale.

Ever since news of Jameson’s 25 percent stake in Babe’s Cabaret was made public, several city officials have been scrambling for a way to shut the adult club down. Mayor Mary Manross has even asked several city officials to research how Jameson acquired the club, hoping to find an accounting mistake that could void ownership.

“We will stop it if we have the opportunity,” Councilman Wayne Ecton said at a city council meeting last week.

According to local press reports, police have repeatedly entered the club since Jameson’s purchase, questioning patrons and staff in search of possible violations of Scottsdale’s “No Lap Dancing” policy, as well as other breaches of the city’s sexually oriented business ordinances. Yet, by even the City Council’s admission, the city had previously ignored such violations for more than two years.

Manross has said the scrutiny comes from the city’s desire to revitalize the Southern area of the city, where all of Scottsdale’s sexually oriented businesses operate. For example, the city recently announced it was going to build a major research facility in the area through a joint effort with the Arizona State University Foundation.

The City Council denies the efforts to “clean up” the area have anything to do with Jameson in particular.

“If somebody was trying to do this [in the Northern part of town] we would never let it happen. So why would we let it happen down here?" Councilman Bob Littlefield said.

Although the original sale of the club was uncontested, Jameson’s involvement has put more than a few bumps in Babe’s road. The club may run into particular difficulty if she and her co-owners try to renew the club’s original liquor license. Such a renewal in the case of new ownership requires the approval of the city council.

Strip clubs in the city must also require a special permit to operate, something the more than 30-year-old club never had to do because it opened before the permit legislation was enacted. The City Council has not said whether it will ask Jameson and her fellow owners to reapply for an operating permit.

In a written statement, Jameson said she expected her ownership to carry with it some level of conflict.

“It will always be a fight between the ultraconservatives and the liberals of the community. It's funny how I am always the one getting threatened, when I never impose and/or project my views or beliefs onto anyone. We look forward to running a great, clean club for adults to enjoy.”