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Convention attendee challenges $29,512 tab at adult club

Updated Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | 7:23 p.m.

A conventioneer from Massachusetts is challenging a $29,512 bill for a night of entertainment and drinks at a topless dancing club in Las Vegas.

James Hackett of Andover, Mass., filed a lawsuit Friday in Las Vegas against the owner of the Club Paradise Gentlemen's Club and American Express Co., disputing the amount that was billed to his American Express card last Oct. 12.

Adam Gentile, general manager of Club Paradise, said Tuesday he was not familiar with Hackett's claims. He said it's not unusual for someone to run up a large, confirmed bill at the club and later regret it -- in which case the dispute over payment of the bill would be between the customer and the credit card company.

Hackett says he flew to Las Vegas Oct. 11 to attend the Direct Marketing Association Trade Show. After checking in to the Las Vegas Hilton, he went to a Hilton hotel bar to watch a Boston Red Sox baseball game on television and had some vodka martinis, his lawsuit says.

While watching the game, someone handed him his wallet and said Hackett had dropped it, Hackett's suit says. Nothing was missing from the wallet, but Hackett noticed his driver's license and American Express card had been switched from their usual positions.

Hackett said in his lawsuit he talked to some Red Sox fans from Phoenix, left for the hotel lobby and apparently blacked out there and can't remember anything else that may have happened that night.

He called his wife the next morning and told her about the dropped wallet incident and had her check with his credit card companies to ensure there were no unauthorized charges, the lawsuit says.

No problems with his credit cards were immediately detected. But after returning to Massachusetts, Hackett said he learned of a series of charges to his American Express card by Club Paradise between 2:55 a.m. and 8:54 a.m. on Oct. 12.

These totaled $29,512 -- about $4,000 for a bar tab and more than $25,000 for "unexplained services" involving entertainers "Paulina," "Jani Lee," "Isabel," "Vanessa," "Roxanne" and "Lexi."

Hackett said in his lawsuit he has no recollection of visiting Club Paradise and that he filed police reports in Massachusetts and Las Vegas about the incident.

But the lawsuit says that after he challenged the charges, Club Paradise provided him with documents purportedly signed by Hackett in connection with the charges.

The documents said the club is not involved with prostitution or escort services, that he was not drunk or impaired and that he was not under duress when he purportedly signed the documents, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit, filed in Clark County District Court, asks the court to determine if Club Paradise actually provided services to Hackett, and if so, whether Hackett knowingly consented to the charges or if he was intoxicated, drugged or otherwise impaired; and if the services provided were prohibited by law.

The lawsuit questions not only whether the charges were valid, but the amount charged.

"Such charges are astounding and cannot be supported as reasonable, including charges for entertainment totaling over $25,000 and charges for alcohol of $4,000, the value and quantity of which would have rendered any person so intoxicated as to have no capacity to knowingly consent to any services or charges supplied by defendant Club Paradise," the suit alleges.

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