It’s been 23 days since the lights went dark at the Plaza Gentlemen’s Club. Business owners Alex Dritsas and Belinda Sato appeared before an appeals committee on Jan. 23 to try and get their doors reopened.
The Plaza shut down at midnight on Dec. 31, 2017, after the city decided not to renew its annual business licence. Part of the renewal process includes getting input from the local health unit as well as fire and police departments.
Kingston police didn’t sign off on the renewal because of two separate drug investigations that happened in September 2016 and September 2017, which have led to criminal charges.
Kingston police Insp. Dan Mastin appeared before the appeals committee and explained how both investigations involved one of the club’s owner/managers Andre Dritsas. But according to Alex Dritsas, his brother hasn’t been an owner since September 2016, but says his brother did work as a bartender/manager up until September 2017, adding that he was let go following his arrest that same month.
Alex argued that his brother is not connected to the business anymore and therefore, he couldn’t break any conditions of the business licence. He also went on to explain some of the measures the club has put in place to curb illegal activity such as installing security cameras and having on-site breathalyzers.
“Our signs very specifically tell people drug use in that area will be immediately reported to police,” said owner Alex. He added, “We do have a doorman at the front door at all times who does check people for illegal substances, whether they be weapons, drugs and alcohol, and if anything of that nature is found, those people are escorted off the premises.”
Despite the pleas, the lawyer for the city argued it’s not in the public’s interest to renew the licence.
There’s also a 30-room hotel on the upper floors of the strip club that’s rented to those in need. It has not been affected by the business closure.
Due to the complex arguments raised in the case, the appeals committee says it needs more time to make a final ruling. They will reconvene on Tuesday, Jan. 30.