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Criminal Charges: Volume XXIII — Plastic and pole dancers

Jeremy Simon

Here at Taking Charge, we keep an eye on all sorts of economic indicators. While there isn’t an official “exotic dancer index,” maybe there should be: According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the economic crisis has spurred an uptick in the number of dancers appearing in Sin City, with gentlemen’s club Sapphire saying it has many as 400 strippers working at one time, up from 250 to 300 before the economy began to crumble.

In other words, the decision to focus this week’s edition of Criminal Charges on credit card violations and striptease artists is purely based on concern for our shared economic troubles.

Kentucky airport officials stripped of credit cards
A group of Kentucky airport officials are under scrutiny amid evidence they ran up a combined $332,000 in charges over the past few years on their airport credit cards, including an outing to a Texas strip club that cost upwards of $4,500. The activities will result in the cancellation of their cards.

It’s not like the Lexington, Ky., Blue Grass Airport officials — operations director John Coon, administration and finance director John Rhodes, marketing and community relations director Brian Ellestad and planning and development director John Slone — were desperate for dollars. According to the Lexington-Herald Leader, all of the men earned six-figure salaries. Boys at the airport weren’t the only ones behaving badly: Marketing and community relations director Amy Caudill and administration manager Debbie Kelly’s credit cards will also be canceled.

The airport’s executive director, Michael Gobb, recently resigned due to questions over his own expenses. Gobb had apparently hit the Dallas-area gentlemen’s club with Coon and Sloane. Airport board chairman Bernard Lovely said a related charge appeared on one of the men’s credit card statements, with the explanation given that the officials were “entertaining American Airlines executives,” the Herald-Leader reports. “Lovely said he confronted Gobb and his attorney about the strip club expenses last week and Gobb confirmed going to the strip club,” the paper reports.

While the men may have enjoyed running up their tab, it pales in comparison to the nearly $130,000 a Bangladeshi businessman spent at New York City strip club Scores a few years back.

The airport officals’ strip club visit wasn’t their only abuse of plastic. “Airport credit cards also were used to buy Christmas presents for co-workers and pay for gasoline, car washes, meals at local restaurants and for dry cleaning,” the Courier-Journal reports. The airport’s plastic also paid for Nintendo Wii video games, golf lessons and, perhaps most disturbing of all, Hannah Montana tickets.

If you can’t stand the heat…
A patron at a Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y., strip club found the tables turned when the very police he called ended up arresting him.

Bouncers at the Private Eyes club had to physically eject an allegedly unruly James Marshall around 4 a.m. on Dec. 22 after he was initially asked to leave. Police say Marshall in turn called them to arrest the bouncer on assault charges.

Sources told the New York Post that “when cops arrived, Marshall began shouting, disrupting traffic and demanding that one of the bouncers be arrested,” the paper reports. “Instead, Marshall was arrested for disorderly conduct and possession of stolen property after he was allegedly found with a stolen credit card and numerous ATM receipts.”

What a lousy way to start your Monday morning.

Man charged with ripping off Utah strip club
The third time was most definitely not the charm for a thief who tried to score a triple-play against a South Salt Lake, Utah, gentlemen’s club in December.

During a Dec. 8 visit to American Bush, the man charged a private show, but police say his attempt to buy another with a separate card was turned down. When the cashier looked away, the man grabbed an envelope containing $500 from the counter and ran from the club.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, “The man returned Dec. 22 and offered a woman’s credit card and I.D. to purchase another private session, police wrote. He dropped a second card and, while the cashier was picking it up, grabbed another envelope from the counter and ran,” authorities noted.

Evidently, he just couldn’t stay away for long. “The man returned again on Dec. 30 and purchased a lap dance,” the paper reports. “Staff recognized the man and called police. The I.D. and credit cards he allegedly used were stolen, police wrote.” The result was charges of felony theft, unlawful possession of another person’s identification documents and unlawful possession of a credit card.

See related: Miley Cyrus: Too young for a credit card?, Criminal Charges: Volume XX: Stranger than fiction

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