Federal investigators have asked City Council members if any influence was exerted to submarine the recently approved legislative action to regulate adult entertainment in the city, according to multiple sources. The ordinance was approved unanimously (with several members absent) Oct. 1 after narrowly passing a committee vote. What Bridgeport’s nightlife might lack in variety it makes up for in abundance, and adult entertainment is big business for a variety of interests across the city. FBI agents are asking if club owners conspired with some council members to try to torpedo the vote.
The ordinance provides local police and city health officials more tools to regulate adult entertainment including a provision for how close a dancer can approach a patron. State Rep. Auden Grogins and City Councilwoman Sue Brannelly, hearing pleas from their vocal Black Rock constituency, pushed for regulation of the ordinance that had received some push back from council members for more than two years following its proposal by then-Councilman Bob Walsh. Neighborhood residents in Black Rock to the East Side have led a chorus of complaints about adult entertainment establishments. Supporters of the ordinance maintain that adult entertainment establishments curtail quality of life, attract drugs and crime and reduce property values. Mayor Bill Finch supported the ordinance. It’s also an issue that was brought to light by 2011 mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster.
Adult entertainment supporters argue the regulations infringe upon legal businesses already regulated by the state and add unfair financial costs to operations.
Just because the feds are poking doesn’t mean it will go anywhere, but their probe is causing much angst in some city circles.