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Opinion Feel safer? S.C. cops spend two years, tens of thousands of dollars investigating strip club


So many warped priorities at work, here.

Greenville County paid a private law firm nearly $80,000 to assist the Solicitor’s Office in litigation against a strip club accused of facilitating prostitution.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP received $79,291.42 for its legal services when the county took nuisance abatement action last year against Platinum Plus Greenville, according to county records. Lane Davis, a partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, was listed as a special prosecutor when the county filed a civil lawsuit against the gentleman’s club in April 2015.
Solicitor Walt Wilkins said a civil attorney was needed on the case because the rules and procedures for civil proceedings differ from criminal cases solicitors usually handle.
The civil lawsuit last year led to the closure of  Platinum Plus from May 2015 to November 2015.

This most recent investigation was apparently the only one that was successful after multiple failed attempts. One of those attempts involved Greenville County deputies spending “$26,000 in drug seizure money” in a year-long investigation that led to charges ranging from strippers exposing themselves to prostitution, although according to this article, the “prostitution” appeared to extend only to “simulated sex acts” and allowing customers to grope them during lap dances. One investigator for the Greenville County Solicitor’s Office watched 10 hours of lap dance video in order to pick out instances where customers got handsy.

Solicitor Walt Wilkins told Greenville Today that the money paid to the law firm was offset by the $100,000 the strip club was forced to pay to the police department to purchase body cameras, so “it’s almost a win.”

So let’s summarize. Some untold number of Greenville County deputies spent a year and $26,000 in seizure money to purchase lap dances at a high-end strip club. (I’m sure they hated every minute of it.) The county then gave a private law firm an additional $80,000 to litigate the case under a nuisance law, which forced the club to temporarily shut down. At the end of all of that, they found no evidence of, say, sex trafficking, money laundering or mob activity. They found only lewd dancing, “simulated sex,” some off-limits groping and, at worst, money-for-sex transactions between consenting adults. This apparently was “almost a win” for the county because at the end of it all, county officials were able to force the club to buy body cameras for the sheriff’s department.

Better than an MRAP, I guess. But imagine if all that manpower and money had been spent on policing violent crimes. Perhaps Greenville wouldn’t rank among the state’s 10 most violent counties.