I received an e-mail today from Don Lee sent to Exchange Club of Lake Highlands members, outlining in detail what has happened and what is to come in the ongoing strip club lawsuit concerning The Gold Club at PT’s Plaza. The outline comes from attorney and former State Rep. Bill Keffer, and I’ve included the full text for continued reading but here’s at least one interesting tidbit:

"The strip clubs operate on the expectation that, if they can just drag the fight out long enough, neighborhoods and private citizens will eventually lose interest, lose attention, or otherwise forget about their original opposition and just go away, so the strip clubs can settle in and start doing their thing."

"I’m attaching an executive summary that I asked our attorney Scott Bergthold to write up regarding the recent trial in this matter. Here’s the bottom line:

• We passed a law in 2003 that prohibits sexually-oriented businesses from selling alcohol if they are located in a dry area (in the past, it had been a discretionary decision with TABC to grant permits to SOBs in dry areas; this law made it an absolute prohibition);
• The law went into effect in January 2004;
• The strip clubs filed suit immediately, claiming the law is unconstitutional;
• In the meantime, the law is in effect, and PT’s has not been able to sell alcohol, so they have operated as a BYOB;
LHAIA hired a legal expert in this area of the law from Tennessee named Scott Bergthold on the premise that the Texas Attorney General’s office might not have the degree of expertise on this topic that we would need to prevail;
• In the first trial before Dallas Federal Judge Jane Boyle in 2005, our Motion for Summary Judgment was granted, and the law was held to be constitutional;
• The strip clubs appealed to the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans;
Hurricane Katrina greatly delayed the handling of our case by the Fifth Circuit;
• The Fifth Circuit finally issued its decision in 2007and held that the Government (us) had failed to satisfy a technical, procedural requirement relating to the evidence supporting Judge Boyle’s decision that needed to be in the record, so the case was remanded to district court to address that requirement;
• The second trial finally occurred last month on May 12, again before Judge Boyle. After one day of trial, Judge Boyle once again ruled in our favor;
• The strip clubs have once again appealed the ruling to the Fifth Circuit, so we will have to wait for yet another decision, which could take as long as several more months, even into 2009.
• The good news is that Judge Boyle ruled that we had more than satisfied our evidentiary burden. Given what the Fifth Circuit implied before, we would expect the Fifth Circuit to affirm Judge Boyle’s decision. • The strip clubs’ final option at that point would be to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
• The challenge for us in Lake Highlands is as follows:
We have raised money and paid Scott Bergthold’s (very reasonable) fees and were current up until the May 12 trial;
We will need to raise more money to pay him for his attendance at trial and the work done both before and after;
The Assistant Attorney General assigned to our case, Robert Johnson, has really needed the expertise and knowledge Scott has been able to provide;
Robert Johnson is leaving the AG’s office this summer to go into private practice, so our case will be reassigned to another Assistant Attorney General, more than likely someone who will need Scott’s help even more;
The strip clubs operate on the expectation that, if they can just drag the fight out long enough, neighborhoods and private citizens will eventually lose interest, lose attention, or otherwise forget about their original opposition and just go away, so the strip clubs can settle in and start doing their thing;
We need to make sure Scott stays actively involved, especially in the preparation of an amicus brief that would be filed on LHAIA’s behalf with the Fifth Circuit, which means we will need to raise money to pay Scott for that, too.

I would really urge all of us to continue keeping this matter as a high priority. I think we are almost to the finish line and are very likely to prevail. I also think that, once our victory becomes final, PT’s will have no business reason to continue operating at Plano and Miller and will shut down. I would recommend that we recommence an information/fundraising drive throughout the Lake Highlands community, so we are able to pay Scott and keep our eyes on the prize."