Ypsilanti club settles legal battle with city, gives chance to reopen | Media Pyro


YPSILANTI, MI – A golf club near downtown Ypsilanti has been closed for more than two and a half years.

At first it was the death of the closures related to the COVID-19, followed by the flaming of two alarms in the building that snow turned into a dispute with the city officials about the accused of unauthorized construction and a city review of plans to repair the fire-damaged club. .

But now the club Dejà Vu Showgirls on North Washington Street has a way to reopen.

It comes in the form of a 58-page settlement agreement, signed on October 19, to resolve two legal battles with the city. Under the agreement, Déjà Vu has the right to operate its cabaret venue with nude entertainers, but must close an adult bookstore and video theater on the site, pay the city $65,000 and change the second floor of the building to Airbnb-style rentals, among other arrangements.

“The city of Ypsilanti’s interest in the case is to enforce its laws and attorney (Kimberly) Scott was able to reach a settlement approved by the city council and avoid a lengthy, expensive trial. big,” City Attorney John Barr said in a statement, pointing out. the outside counsel who handled the legal disputes for the city.

All but one member of the Ypsilanti Council, Mayor Lois Allen-Richardson, voted to approve the resolution on October 18, after a closed session where it was discussed.

Read more: Ypsilanti v. Déjà Vu: A timeline of the city’s legal battles and the city’s clubbing

An attorney for the club, which is affiliated with the adult entertainment group Déjà Vu, did not return a phone call and email requesting comment. A public relations specialist connected to the company said in a Monday, October 24 email that it would send a statement but did not do so before publication.

The settlement agreement was signed by Déjà Vu founder Harry Mohney, a veteran entertainment producer dubbed the “Howard Hughes of porn,” who started it in Durand, west of Flint.

It will decide to cancel the two lawsuits that have been ongoing since 2021.

In April 2021, a company that operates the Ypsilanti club and another who owns the building sued Ypsilanti in federal court, alleging that city officials had encouraged the decide whether to approve plans to repair and renovate the club after the fire of July 2020. The disparagement of naked entertainment is at the heart of its business model, a protected speech under the First Amendment.

Ypsilanti pushed back with its own lawsuit in state court two months later.

In this statement, the officials said that the club did not pay attention to the construction permit conditions when making changes in the interior of the building from 2019. This means that the grandfather status of the strip club under the new zoning maps — called a “nonconforming use” — meant he could no longer operate his senior business downtown, the city said.

Neither side admitted wrongdoing in the recent settlement, which gives Déjà Vu a path it can pursue to get back into business and limits which parts of the building will be can host adult entertainment in the future.

The agreement states that the club has the right to continue to operate its “cabaret” in any part of the building and the location of the site and the bar, the business must stop using its entrance under the marquee on North Washington Street, but to include a single customer entrance on it. Pearl Street.

Read more: ‘Save the Vu’: Ypsilanti club workers protest outside city hall

But the club, which opened as an adult theater in 1982, must also stop operating its adult bookstore and adult video viewing area and convert it into four separate theater rooms, according to the agreement.

Déjà Vu must remove any unauthorized construction, and the settlement agreement states that proper approvals must be obtained for any future work in the building.

The basement of the club will not be usable by all adults, and the agreement allows the club to rent out the building’s space along North Washington Street, some of which leased, according to the design of the attached building. to the agreement.

The club must also convert the second floor of the building to short-term rental rooms or apartments, listed on a service such as Airbnb, and that conversion will be completed within a year.

The agreement also sets stricter limits on signage around the building’s entrance on Pearl Street, requiring the club to remove the words “1000’s Of Beautiful Girls And 3 Ugly Ones” from an awning. there, though “Where The Party Is” will continue. It will never end”.

Déjà Vu must also develop a plan for reviving the marquee on North Washington Street based on existing guidelines, according to the agreement.

The settlement lays out conditions that would dismiss both lawsuits and allow city employees to enter the club during normal business hours “to satisfy itself that there is no illegal activity” and to enforce the agreement, says.

Some of the conditions include fines of $1,000 to the city for each month the conditions are not met.

Déjà Vu has agreed not to seek attorneys’ fees and to cut the city a check totaling $65,000, in exchange for officers not seeking their own legal fees or fines for violations. before city ordinances.

A Washtenaw County judge will still have the authority to review and enforce the terms of the agreement, if necessary, it said.

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