The Fantasy Plaza strip club filed a suit against the city of Houston this week, claiming unfair competition. In their legal statement, the strip club argues that an agreement, which dates back to 2013, that the city made with 16 other strip clubs, unfavorably favors them as their dancers are not required under law to abide by a “no-touch” rule
In the agreement, the City Council allowed sixteen other strip clubs to donate annually to a fund that maintains a Houston Police Department unit dedicated to investigating human trafficking. In exchange, police would not enforce the ‘sexually oriented business ordinance’ from 1997, which prevents dancers from being closer than three feet from patrons if they were fully topless.
In other words, the strip clubs could let their dancers go naked as long as they paid to the Houston Police department. The Fantasy Plaza strip club claims unfair competition and states that donation to the fund in exchange for non-enforcement of the law amounts to a "commercial bribery scheme."
The suit states that "because Fantasy Plaza must abide by city law, Fantasy Plaza cannot compete for customers in the same manner as the Clubs. This has caused - and will continue to cause, Fantasy Plaza to lose business and ultimately fail."
“City officials have characterized the clubs that were not part of the settlement as ‘rogue clubs’ that needed to be shut down.”
South Texas College of Law professor, Mr. Matthew Festa commented: “The settlement may, in fact, reflect a good judgment about what the law should be, but until that becomes what the law is, it's problematic for the city to not enforce it uniformly."