Last week a federal judge told the owners of The Gold Club at PT’s Plaza on Plano and Miller that they could not sell alcohol to customers, based on a new Texas law authored by Lake Highlands resident Bill Keffer, an attorney and former state legislator representing the Lake Highlands and East Dallas area.
Passed in a 2003 special session, the law is directed at strip clubs located in dry areas, and "the ultimate hope is that if they can’t sell alcohol, losing that stream of revenue would be sufficiently significant to cause them to want to relocate," Keffer says. (Keffer, who served from 2003-2006, is also running for reelection and faces Lakewood Heights resident and incumbent Allen Vaught at the polls in November).
The law went into effect Jan. 1, 2004, and Gold Club owners filed suit not long afterward, alleging that the law violates constitutional rights. Last week was the second time a federal judge had ruled in favor of the state, handing down a judgment that said the Attorney General’s office along with Lake Highlands Area Improvement Association‘s expert lawyer "had more than satisfied the evidentiary burden," Keffer says.
Gold Club owners had appealed the the first ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and it was reversed because of a technicality. Keffer says he expects that the owners will appeal again, but this time all the boxes are checked, and there was "no indication given by judge to give them any chance of winning," he says, plus, "the Fifth Circuit all but said the law was constitutional — it was just a technicality."
"The handwriting on the wall seems to be getting a little clearer, so I think we’re heading toward a final victory," Keffer says.