CLC's Stephens Still on the Steve Cooper Case

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Brian Stephens
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  • Brian Stephens
Brian Stephens, a former Republican member of the Shelby County Election Commission and a founding member of the Cordova Leadership Council, is hoping that the same Republican majority in the current Tennessee General Assembly that made for quick passage of the Norris-Todd bill on local school merger will benefit a mission of his own to Nashville this week.

And Stephens, who maintains good relations with Democrats as well, will work both sides of the aisle.

Stephens and others involved with the Cordova Leadership Council have long been suspicious of the intentions of well-known strip-club owner Steve Cooper, whose Stella Marris restaurant in Cordova is closed for “remodeling” and for which Cooper is now seeking a “compensated dance permit” from the City Council.

Such a permit allows dancers in clubs to be paid and to receive tips for their dancing. But there are “loopholes” in current law that allow for activities bordering on sexual improprieties, or even crossing that border, says Stephens.

What he seeks to get from the legislature is enactment of stiffer penalties for abuses of a compensated dance permit. As of now, violations may range from $50 for a first-time offense to $1500 for consistent, repeated ones. “And that’s pocket change for these guys,” Stephens says. “I’d like to add to add some zeroes to the fine.”

He and other members of the CLC are also lobbying the City Council to clarify the restrictions involved in a compensated dance permit so as to rule out activities — including nudity and improper trafficking with customers — that are defined as violations under existing laws governing sexually-oriented businesses.

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