Attorney OKs Hustler Club Settlement

LINCOLN PARK, Mich. — An independent attorney has determined that the settlement between Lincoln Park and Larry Flynt's Hustler Club was the best one possible for the city, according to The News-Herald.

Attorney Eric Williams was hired by the City Council to review the settlement after several council members and local citizens protested it. Signed by city attorney Edward Zelenak, city manager Steve Duchane and attorney James Tamm, of the city's insurance company, the agreement exempts the club from certain adult business ordinances over which it had sued the city on grounds they were unconstitutional.

Protestors of the agreement claimed the three officials had no authority to sign off on it. Williams said in his report that eight other people who were present in the closed meetings on the settlement verified that the council did grant them that authority.

According to Williams, the city negotiated a better settlement than expected, convincing the Hustler Club's owners to agree to more regulations than originally discussed. Had the city attempted to take the case to trial, it would have been costly and probably futile, Williams said.

"It is my opinion that the consent judgment that was signed and entered with the federal district court was a good resolution and outcome for the city of Lincoln Park," Williams wrote in his 13-page report. "The subject matter of the lawsuit is controversial. ... Nevertheless, the United States Constitution gives some measure of protection to nude performance, and local government must operate within the legal framework in which it is created. Lincoln Park is no exception.

"There is no reason for the city of Lincoln Park to seek to withdraw the consent judgment ... in order to strive for a better result," the report continued. "Perpetuating the litigation just for the experience would be unwise and expensive. ... It is clear to me that the city of Lincoln Park is well served by the settlement and consent judgment."