Baltimore Press

Dancers Can Solicit Sex, Not Drinks

Prostitution is legal in Baltimore strip clubs, but only for the club owners. The hook­ers can still be prosecuted for solicitation, but those reaping the greatest financial rewards cannot, due to a recent ruling by the Attorney General, Joseph Curran.

In January, Judge Richard Rambro had ruled that a grand­father clause in a state law would allow nude dancing at many of Baltimore’s adult clubs. Then, at a recent Liquor Board hearing, lawyer Mitchell M. Gordon successfully argued that Rombro’s decision had also neutralized the city’s ban on prostitution in strip clubs. The Liquor Board’s accepted the argu­ment, as did the Attorney General, who ruled on the issue last week.

Accordingly, the prostitution charges against the strip club Goddess were dismissed at the Liquor Board hearings yesterday. The board did find the club was found guilty of employing an under­aged dancer, and for soliciting drinks. The fines were $500 and $100, respectively.

The club has a history of alleged prostitution and narcotic activity. Former co-owner George Stamatis was indicted in 1998 on narcotic traf­ficking, including instances at the club itself. Stamatis allegedly sold over 4 pounds of cocaine to under­cover FBI agents. After the club’s license was seized under drug forfei­ture laws, Stamatis’ share was sold to the 24 year old Foula Popi Kritikos.

Since 1995, when Stamatis and Antonios Nickolaou purchased the club, Goddess has been brought before the Liquor Board on prostitu­tion charges on four occasions.

In the past legislative session, three bill to address the issue were defeated, nor has a city ordinance been drawn up to address the issue.

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