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Court denies appeal by strip club owner

Billy Dean's Showtime Cafe in North Bellmore on

Billy Dean's Showtime Cafe in North Bellmore on May 23, 2012. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

The state’s highest court has denied an appeal by strip club owner Billy Dean, leaving the opening of his planned Mile High Club in Wantagh in limbo.

New York State Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman decided on Tuesday to deny the motion filed in March. Dean appealed the February ruling by the New York State Appellate Division justice panel that affirmed the Hempstead Town appeals board’s denial of a cabaret permit for a club with a “Las Vegas Style” feel on Sunrise Highway.

The license for the Wantagh venue would have allowed live music, dancing and entertainment, but prohibited topless or nude entertainment.

“The Court of Appeals was rock solid on the law, and the decision does the ‘right thing’ by area homeowners,” Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement.

“Throughout the case, Hempstead’s attorneys fought to protect the residential character of the local neighborhood.”

Dean’s attorney, William Cohn of Uniondale, did not respond to requests for comment. Cohn had argued that the board’s actions improperly encroached on and deprived Dean’s rights of freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Dean and partner Rori Gordon in October 2011 unsuccessfully sued the town appeals board and its seven members in State Supreme Court and then appealed to the appellate division for denying the cabaret license. The denial reversed the board’s approval of Dean’s application more than a year earlier. Dozens of residents opposed the club because of its proximity to a residential neighborhood.

Dean owns Billy Dean’s Showtime Cafe in North Bellmore, which he bills as “Long Island’s Number 1 Strip Club.” The town appeals board has yet to decide on a petition for a cabaret permit renewal for the North Bellmore location; the permit expired March 28, 2012.

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