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Raleigh Adult Nightclub Owners Say They've Run Into Roadblocks

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Two co-owners of an adult nightclub say they believe backdoor deals and preferential treatment allow some clubs to open for business and stay open, while others never even get established.

"There's a lot of people who want (an adult nightclub) in Raleigh," said Nick Rossicci, a co-owner of Club Whiplash, located on Martin Street in downtown Raleigh. "The problem is with the politics."

Since September, Rossicci and his business partner, Ray Taylor, have been trying to start up the club, but they say they keep running into roadblocks.

The city of Raleigh has a strict ordinance that makes it difficult for adult entertainment clubs to set up business, but Raleigh's mayor, Charles Meeker, insists that no preferential treatment is given to one club over another.

"Naturally, we don't encourage these kind of establishments, but if someone wants to put one in the city somewhere, they need to follow the ordinance strictly and realize they will be closed down for not complying with the ordinances," Meeker said.

City code prohibits owners from building adult nightclubs near churches, day cares, schools, office or residential space or near other adult establishments. Anyone who wants a special use permit required to have adult entertainment must go before the Raleigh Board of Adjustment.

Rossicci and Taylor have a privilege license to operate a business, but do not have the special-use permit required to open an adult entertainment club.

They say they have not even applied for the permit because they are embroiled in a court battle with their landlord who wants them out and has even padlocked the door to the building. They feel like they are being discriminated against.

The club does have a Web site where the owners share their feelings about what they see as an attempt to keep them out of Raleigh.

The last time Raleigh permitted an adult entertainment club was in 1993. Since that time, four attempts to open similar clubs in Wake County failed. Another business owner is currently in the process of trying to open an adult entertainment club near the airport.


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