Mobile Strip Club Challenges Zoning Laws

TAMPA, Fla. — How do you charge a strip club for zoning violations when the strip club is on wheels?

That was the quandary Tampa officials faced last week when a local strip club brought its show to the parking lot of a Buccaneers football game, thanks to a bus the club’s owners rented from a man named Mitchell Stone.

After consulting with the District Attorney, police raided the bus on Nov. 27, where seven strippers from gentlemen club Déjà Vu were performing.

According to undercover police, two Déjà Vu employees were offering alcohol while the girls performed nude lap dances on the bus, a 40-foot former transit vehicle Stone initially designed for use at Sweet 16 parties and proms.

The ensuing legal trouble both Stone and the owners of Déjà Vu now face has ignited considerable discussion in Tampa about how the city zones adult businesses. As soon as Dec. 7, county commissioners could meet to discuss how the county’s adult ordinances could be tightened to include mobile adult entertainment venues.

As it stands now, the strippers are facing charges for violating two city ordinances, one that prohibits nudity in a commercial establishment and one which bans nude performances in any venue where alcohol is served.

Police said two of the girls also are facing charges for performing oral sex on each other, as well as what police called “unnatural and lascivious acts,” though they did not elaborate.

The raid on Nov. 27 marked the fourth time Déjà Vu rented the bus from Stone, for which he received $500.

Stone would not comment on the case, citing the ongoing investigation, but prosecutors and investigators are expected to meet Tuesday to discuss the charges. Currently, Stone and the strip club employees face two misdemeanors for selling liquor without a license.

Stone also faces an additional misdemeanor charge, described in county law as the “renting of space for lewdness.”