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Many Opposed To Granting West End Strip Club Liquor License

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Paul Martino Paul Martino
Paul joined KDKA-TV in 1984 as a general assignment reporter and later...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The owners of a controversial strip club on Pittsburgh’s West End are seeking a liquor license from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, but some say that license should be denied.

Work appeared to be underway Thursday at the Carson Street club called Controversy.

It’s been closed since December when Pittsburgh police raided the place, accusing it of selling liquor without a license and other violations.

“They’re not being a good partner to the City of Pittsburgh or to the residents in which their property abuts,” said City Councilwoman Theresa Kail Smith.

The biggest conflict with Club Controversy lies just 90 feet away at the Onala Club, an organization that offers recovery support for alcoholics and addicts.

Controversy, the strip club, is causing problems at Onala.

“Since they’ve opened we’ve had a lot of people coming onto our property, using our lot, drinking in our parking lot, a variety of other activities going on in cars,” said Joseph Panzino, the executive director of Onala.

But Club Controversy’s lawyer insists they want to be a good neighbor. He was unaware of any problems.

“I don’t know if there’s any truth to that,” said attorney Charles Caputo. “I’ve heard just some general statements about it, but I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of it.”

“There’s a reason we don’t put bars and things like that next to schools and hospitals and things like that,” said Panzino, “and that’s kind of the circumstances we’ve got here.”

Pittsburgh police oppose the liquor license, too.

“It’s horrible,” said Commander Catherine McNeilly, of Pittsburgh Police. “I think that being so close to individuals who are in recovery is reprehensible.”

A decision on granting Club Controversy a liquor license isn’t expected for about 60 days.

Meanwhile, they have a hearing in City Court late next month on the charges brought against the club by Pittsburgh police.

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