Stripper Licensing Fees Under Spotlight as Funds Get 'Diverted'

Stripper Licensing Fees Under Spotlight as Funds Get 'Diverted'

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A sticky-fingered Palm Beach County public administrator has been accused of pocketing $28,875 in stripper licensing fees.

Longtime county employee Anita Pedemey, called out for her misdeeds by authorities, allegedly "diverted" the funds from county coffers between October 2013 and mid-November 2016.

As a result, strippers in the county now will have to pay such fees by credit card or money order, according to Reason, which published a news item today.

According to the Reason story, all topless dancers in Palm Beach County are required to register with the county and pay $75 per year to obtain an Adult Entertainment Work Identification Card (AEIC).

In those three years when the funds were pinched, nearly 70 percent of the adult entertainers paid the registration in cash.

Reason, in its story, puts a distinct spotlight on the municipality's program that targets adult entertainers and called Palm Beach County’s mandatory AEIC program a “problem” that serves “no legitimate public-safety or consumer-protection element to the requirement.”

“Not only does the regulation drive up [strippers'] costs ... it gives Palm Beach regulators a database of anyone who's ever taken their clothes off for money locally — leaving these records open to FOIA requests or hackers — and gives cops a pretense to check clubs at random to make sure there aren't any unlicensed dancers,” Reason said in the piece. “Those found to be dancing without a license can be arrested on a misdemeanor criminal charge.

“Government officials have portrayed the measure as a means to stop human trafficking and the exploitation of minors, but that's ludicrous; anyone willing to force someone else into sex or labor and circumvent much more serious rules with regard to age limits isn't going to suddenly take pause over an occupational licensing rule they'll have to skirt,” Reason said.