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City of Beaumont hopes to settle dispute with strip clubs - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

City of Beaumont hopes to settle dispute with strip clubs

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BEAUMONT -

Strip clubs have been part of Beaumont's landscape for years, but in recent months their survival has been in question.

Rick's Cabaret International, known for running upscale cabarets purchased the old Tonga Club on College, and renamed it Jaguar's.

However building code violations led to its utilities being cut, now the new Jaguar's is on Fannett Road, the site of the old Plantation, which is within 1500 feet of Paradise Missionary Baptist Church.  That's against Beaumont's sexually oriented business ordinance.  But it was not enforced at the Fannett club until new ownership came into the picture, since the church actually came into existence after the club.

The possibility of new ownership, like Rick's Cabaret, spurred the city to enforce codes that had been grandfathered in.

But even some of the church members, like Assistant Minister Kenneth Fontenot, don't have problems with the club.

Fontenot said, "For me to say that the club is bothering me that would be wrong, because if I call myself a man of God, I got to love my brother in spite of what he may be doing."

The clubs filed a lawsuit against the city last month questioning its code enforcement towards the clubs, but it seems the city doesn't want a fight.

A source tells 12News the city wants to be fair and will likely not require the new owners of the club to meet a higher standard than before.

Council members will meet in executive session Tuesday afternoon to discuss the litigation further.

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