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Club feels police are treating them unfairly after multiple incidents

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jul 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-17 18:35:26-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A Fort Myers City Councilwoman says police aren't treating a new business owner fairly because of past crimes at the location.

The allegations came after social media videos surfaced of strippers at the business, which is not licensed for adult entertainment.

The Fly Lounge and Restaurant on Colonial Boulevard opened in September, in the same location where a club called Vegas Lounge shut down after several weapon and drug seizures in their parking lot. Councilwoman Terolyn Watson said Fort Myers Police are associating that business with the new Fly Lounge in Tuesday night's council meeting. "We can't let this go on, them harassing a business owner," she said.

Fly Lounge's owner said his business should not be conflated with the former. He brought on eof his security guards before the council members to explain how tight his security is. "We check ID's, we do pat downs, everybody get a pat down whether it's the entertainment or the people coming in," said security officer Ellis Montalvo.

However, Fort Myers Police still find themselves responding to calls at the location. Last month, they arrested 22-year-old Leonard Henry for illegally having several guns and narcotics in his car while he was sitting in the Fly Lounge parking lot. 

Last week, FMPD officers testified at a code enforcement hearing, where Fly Lounge faced two violations. 

- The first was for having a car show in their parking lot without a permit. The business said they didn't know they needed a permit.

- The second violation was for an incident in which FMPD said the Fly Lounge had strippers inside the business without having an adult entertainment license. 

Video of the incident, which was posted on popular social media app 'Snap Chat', was shown to code board members. "Money is being thrown on the ground, money is being placed in her underwear," said an officer describing the video.

Fly Lounge's owner said those strippers were not Fly Lounge's employees, but patrons attending a private party that got out of hand. "Security did run over there and they did escort them out," he said.

Fly Lounge's attorney, Ralf Brookes, spoke with 4 In Your Corner reporters. He said Fly Lounge does not have an adult entertainment license, and does not wish to obtain one. "That kind of activity is not endorsed by Fly Restaurant and Lounge," he said. "No one is invited to come in and take part in that activity."

Brookes said Fly Lounge will meet with Fort Myers Police and city administration to discuss any regulations the business should know about and to find a way to keep patrons safe. The citations will be on hold until then.