Coyotes Still Prowling Despite Shutdown Attempts

MILFORD, Penn. — Rulings in County and U.S. District Courts banning Coyotes Show Club from offering adult entertainment have been found unenforceable, according to The Intelligencer, and the club has continued operating as a house of strip shows and lap dances.

U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe issued an emergency cease-and-desist order Dec. 14, the day of Coyotes' opening, and Judge Clyde W. Waite made essentially the same ruling a week later on behalf of Bucks County.

In the case of Rufe's order, there was some question as to whether she had the jurisdiction to make it. In a Dec. 20 hearing, it was in fact dissolved by another U.S. District Court Judge, the honorable Bruce W. Kaufmann. Waite's ruling for the county was made the following day, Dec. 21, but as it turned out, he had no jurisdiction over the case, either.

Glenn D. McGogney, the attorney for Coyotes, had filed papers prior to the hearing by Waite requesting to have Milford's suit against the club pulled from county court and sent to federal court for consideration. Simply making that request stripped Bucks County Court of jurisdiction until a federal court decides whether to hear the case.

The township of Milford filed suit against Coyotes' parent company, Barnett Food Group, for willfully deceiving the township by applying for a license to operate as a restaurant/bar and setting up shop as a strip club after receiving the permit. Milford's filing, however, followed one already initiated in late November by Barnett charging the township with maintaining zoning laws that violate its civil and First Amendment rights.

Opponents of Coyotes have suggested that it could not meet zoning requirements because it is adjacent to a Milford park, but according to attorney McGogney, said "park" is a two-acre plot of underbrush and small trees with no amenities other than a single bench. Furthermore, McGogney says the township's zoning restrictions contain no prohibition against an adult business being near a park; they only state that one cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a house of worship, residence, school or recreational facility. And the neighboring "park" cannot be considered a recreational facility because it contains wetlands.

The township has served Coyotes with an order to abolish nude entertainment on grounds that it violates zoning regulations, but the club plans to challenge that order before Milford's zoning board. It will not, however, pay the $10,000 fee the township charges to hear a validity challenge, and it may file another suit against the township alleging that said fee impedes free speech.

In spite of its ongoing legal battles with the township, Coyotes plans to bring in comedians, bands and/or the occasional male strip act, as well as perhaps offer striptease classes during the day.