FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS -- Organizers of a sex convention this weekend say they are being unfairly targeted after aldermen said the city will check if event vendors have permits.
STL3 Inc. has organized a "Spanksgiving" conference from today to Sunday at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel for about 250 people who will explore bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism in sexual relationships.
Ward 1 Alderman Norm Miller informed the public at a City Council meeting on Tuesday that he received a call from a concerned resident about the event.
Miller questioned whether event vendors would need permits and if the city would get sales tax revenue from sold merchandise.
"We have no idea what's going on in there. We have no idea what's being sold," Miller said.
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom spokeswoman Susan Wright, on behalf of a national advocacy group that partners with STL3 Inc., said the conference will have classes and social activities as well as vendors who sell sex toys and other merchandise.
Wright said organizers want to cooperate fully with the city, and plans to obey all state and city laws. But Wright also questions the timing of the enforcement.
"What is being asked of this conference that is not being asked of other conferences?" Wright said. "You can't just enforce it against one group and not another. Did other conference vendors have to pay this fee? It's because of the nature of the event."
Wright said event organizers were not notified by the city about the permits until Wednesday and the hotel was not aware of the requirements.
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