Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008 | 2 a.m.
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Beyond the Sun
- Las Vegas Now: Las Vegas Swingers (7-18-2008)
The courts are going to get a chance to settle the question of whether sex clubs should be legal in Las Vegas.
At the very least, a judge will be asked to determine whether 39-year-old swinger David Cooper is right when he says Clark County is out to get him. The county rejected Cooper’s business license application a few months ago after county investigators said he was operating before he had a license and had lie on his application.
Cooper and his attorney, Lisa Rasmussen, appealed to the Clark County Commission on Tuesday, arguing that at least four other swingers clubs operate in the complex where Cooper had set up Sextasy — Commercial Center, the oldest mall in Las Vegas, just west of the Maryland Parkway-East Sahara Avenue intersection.
While arguing against the investigators’ findings, Rasmussen made it clear she thinks Cooper’s constitutional rights were violated.
“It’s an equal protection under the law, 14th Amendment violation, when all of these other businesses do the same thing,” Rasmussen said.
Deputy District Attorney Rob Warhola responded that “we do not have to go after all businesses at once. We can go after them one at a time.”
Rasmussen and Cooper vowed to take the matter to court. The “overarching issue,” Rasmussen said, is whether sex clubs are legal here.
“If the county comes in and shuts down all of the clubs, then the next issue is the (sex club) ordinance itself,” she said. “It’s vague and overbroad and it won’t stand up to constitutional scrutiny facially or as applied.”
A sex club is defined by the county as “an establishment which provides patrons the opportunity to voluntarily engage in and/or view live consensual sexual activity and which collects remuneration of any kind, including entrance fees, facility use fees, gratuities, fees for goods provided far in excess of their value, and/or donations.”
Hotels could be included in that definition, Rasmussen argued.
Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, whose district includes the Green Door, has told the Sun that other swingers clubs have been able to keep their business licenses because the county has yet to catch them “in the act.”
The Green Door in Commercial Center advertises itself on the Internet as “the largest sex club in the country.”
The commission voted unanimously to deny Cooper’s appeal after Giunchigliani said it was clear the county’s complaints were valid.
Joe Schoenmann can be reached at 259-4090 or at [email protected]