The Town of Hempstead is facing a federal civil rights lawsuit from a North Bellmore strip-club owner whose appeal for a new cabaret in Wantagh was denied.
Billy Dean and his company Green 2009 Inc. filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York last month against the Town of Hempstead and Supervisor Kate Murray, who has opposed his permit for the Wantagh cabaret since 2011.
Dean, who owns Billy Dean's Showtime Café in North Bellmore, has been seeking to open a Las Vegas style cabaret with music and dancers at the building that formerly housed the Classic Car Steakhouse, at 3500 Sunrise Hwy.
The lawsuit accuses town officials of violating Dean's freedom of speech by preventing the club from opening and limiting its use. The application included plans for live entertainment ranging from Coney Island sideshow-style knife-throwing to seminude dancers, Dean's Manhattan-based attorney Herald Fahringer said.
"One thing that troubles us is that the town is not able to tell us what entertainment would be conducted at the premises," Fahringer said. "You can't deny a permit because you think it's going to cause this problem or that problem."
Murray and Nassau County Legis. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa) Monday held a news conference at the Wantagh site, and pledged continued opposition to the cabaret. Murray said residents who lived 25 yards away in a quiet neighborhood were concerned about traffic, parking and loud music that would affect their quality of life.
"Today, I am here to tell you that Hempstead Town vows to fight Billy Dean's latest attempt to open a cabaret next to a quiet residential neighborhood," Murray said.
The Hempstead Board of Appeals initially granted a permit for Dean to open the Wantagh location, but rescinded it in 2011.
Hempstead Town spokesman Mike Deery said the application hearing was reopened in 2011 after the permit was granted because board members believed Dean did not fully report the planned use of the cabaret.
After the permit was revoked, the New York State Supreme Court upheld the Board of Appeals decision. The Court of Appeals also rejected a motion in February to review the lower court's decision.
"Many battles have been won," Venditto said. "No matter how many battles we get involved in, we will not stop and ultimately we will win this war."
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled Herald Fahringer's name.