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Hager Hall fined for male revue

June 23, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Washington County's liquor board has fined a Hagerstown nightclub $1,500 for allegedly violating state restrictions on nudity or sexual simulations.

The fine, which must be paid by July 18, was imposed on Hager Hall Conference and Event Center on Dual Highway, where a male revue danced April 25.

The Washington County Board of License Commissioners, known as the liquor board, can impose fines and suspend or revoke a liquor license.

Hager Hall can appeal the liquor board's decision to Washington County Circuit Court.

Inspectors for the liquor board testified at a hearing last week that some of the male dancers led women in the audience onto the stage. Inspectors also said women stuffed dollar bills in the dancers' clothing.

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One dancer stood behind a customer on stage and simulated having sex with her, inspectors said.

In this case, the board decided "a fine rather than suspension or revocation will serve as a deterrent to these actions in the future," a June 18 letter from the board to Hager Hall says.

Robert Shoemaker, an inspector, said the performers wore swim trunks. Richard Koontz, another inspector, described the attire as G-strings.

Joe Rouse, an attorney who co-owns the Hager Hall building and is part of the business, said he didn't think the actions violated a state law prohibiting bare buttocks or breasts within 6 feet of patrons at an establishment where alcohol is served.

But Robert L. Everhart, the liquor board's chairman, stressed a provision banning "acts or simulated acts of sexual intercourse" if an establishment has a liquor license.

Mike Malone, Hager Hall's general manager, testified that the dance revue got directions about the show but didn't follow them. When inspectors arrived and complained, he directed performers to leave the audience and return to the stage, Malone said.

Rouse didn't return two messages left on his cell phone Tuesday. A message left in the general voice mail at Hager Hall also was not returned.

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