The fight to keep strip dancing inside Baby Dolls is over, but maybe not a completely over.
City sources confirmed at least a couple of people want to buy the place, but nothing is a done deal. The city is even expecting to receive applications. We don't know who they are, but they have to prepare for the public spotlight, after a California businessman's ten month battle with the city's application process.
Last Thursday, Baby Dolls strip club owner, Charles Westlund of California, pulled-out of a federal lawsuit he filed against the city. He was asking Federal Judge Sam Cummings to reverse the city's permits and licensing appeals board decision to uphold the city's denial.
The city denied Westlund of his strip club permit twice last year, once because police believed Westlund lied on his application about his prior criminal history. Westlund had felony convictions out of California, that a judge later dismissed under the condition he was to disclose that information.
Since January, Baby Dolls has remained open as a bar and not a strip club. Last week's dismissal only means one thing; time is ticking for Lubbock's only strip club. According to the city's ordinance, that location has one year until it loses its "grandfather clause" to operate as a sexually oriented business. After that year expires, no one can re-open it as strip club. But city attorney Anita Burgess suspects they will have a few applications turned in before time is up.
Councilman Gary Boren, who is not a fan of these types of places, says he will make sure the city follows due process carefully. "They will always be inquiring. We will do proper investigations into their background to be assured as to whether or not they can operate in this community," said Boren.
City sources have said they know a couple of local people have inquired about purchasing the strip club.
Westlund's attorney, Jan Fouts did not return our phone call for comment.
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