Hustler Holds a Winning Hand in Virginia

Gretchen Gallen
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After months of political haggling, Jimmy Flynt, brother of Larry, is close to winning six-month battle with local lawmakers who have made the opening of a Hustler store a near impossibility.

Slated for a July 1 opening, Flynt and lawyers have fought tooth and nail to open a Hustler-branded café and gift shop in Lexington, Ky., near Interstate 75 and Winchester Road.

After sinking an estimated $3 million into the project, Flynt has stated determinedly that the store will open, no matter what.

However, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader, before Flynt and his organization can open the venue with a valid certificate of occupancy, a detailed list of everything he intends to sell at the location must be handed over to the city of Lexington.

According to Lexington ordinances, most retail outlets are required to describe what products or services they intend to sell, however, city lawmakers, including the city's deputy director of building inspections, Dewey Crowe, have made a point to make life in Lexington as difficult for Flynt and Hustler as possible.

Crow claims that he is merely trying to make sure the store items are in accordance with city zoning laws, or at least the laws put in place the minute Hustler came to town and stirred up controversy with its sexy image.

"They're holding my feet to the fire," Flynt told the Leader. "They're treating me bad. They said they're making me cross the T's and dot the I's."

Flynt first entered the Lexington political fray last year with a proposal for a coffee shop and adjoining retail outlet. But his plan became instantly controversial when he disclosed his intentions for selling adult magazines, videos, and sex toys, similar to the inventory featured in the nationwide Hustler retail chain.

Right off the bat, Flynt was denied a conditional-use permit by the city's board, requiring Flynt to file a court appeal based on the unconstitutionality of the council's decision.

Then in January of this year, the city council voted unanimously for a zoning amendment that would prohibit adult bookstores, video stores, cabarets, and adult dancing and entertainment establishments at interstate interchanges.

Flynt finally conceded to opening the store without any adult materials, although he was able to retain the use of the Hustler brand name on the venue. Flynt has not yet revealed what merchandise the store will feature aside from coffee and snacks, but he has been quoted as saying that the store's contents will be "unique and different."

The opening of the store/café will coincide with Larry Flynt's book tour for his upcoming release of "Sex, Lies & Politics: The Naked Truth," a tell-all about what Flynt claims was a right wing conspiracy to bring George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and John Ashcroft to power.

Flynt has so far established Hustler retail stores in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Cincinnati with rollout plans for San Francisco, Baltimore, New York, and St. Louis.