Decision on Club Velvet expected in 90 days

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

Editor's Note: We want to caution you that some of the testimony may not be appropriate for younger readers.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It could be as much as 90 days before we find out if Sam Moore's Shockoe Bottom strip club will lose its liquor license. A two day hearing on 11 charges against Club Velvet wrapped up this afternoon.

Over two days we heard 11 hours of testimony from 13 witnesses...former dancers testified to drug use, alcohol violations....even prostitution at the club. Moore's attorney says their client is being singled out.

Sam Moore's defense admits alcohol was frequently taken to Club Velvet's third floor, a make shift champagne room that is not licensed by the ABC: a clear violation of state law. His attorneys say the state failed to prove the rest of the charges.

Two longtime Velvet bartenders testified they never saw illegal activity. They never served underage dancers alcohol and never saw drug use or prostitution.

But that's not what four former dancers said on the stand this morning. They were all under 21 while working at the club and say they drank at Velvet almost every night. They also said it was common to end up fully nude while giving lap dances.

One former dancer admitted to taking money for a sex act. Another says she saw girls have sex for money on several occasions. Prosecutors declined to comment. Moore's attorneys attacked the credibility of the 9 month undercover investigation.

"Felonies have been dropped in return for testimony in a civil administrative proceeding. People who should be doing time in prison have been allowed to go free so that they can go after a civil licensee. Is that the new order of events in Virginia," Kevin Martingayle, Moore's Attorney.

They say Sam Moore is being targeted because he runs a strip club.

"He shouldn't be punished. Because some people don't approve of that style of business the fact of the matter is it's a legal business and it generally is operated within the bounds of the law a written decision from the hearing administrator will be handed down in 90 days," said Martingayle.

There will be options to appeal it to the ABC Board and circuit court. It could be months before we know the full outcome of this case.

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