Dallas/Fort Worth Airport plans to file a protest with state liquor regulators over a request for a mixed-beverage license for an upscale strip club scheduled to open this month near the airport's south entrance.
Houston-based Rick's Cabaret built the club along Airport Freeway (Texas 183) near the CentrePort office complex. This week, officials of the publicly traded company said they paid $4.5 million for the building and have all the proper permits to operate a sexually oriented business on the site. They plan to have it open in time for the Super Bowl.
But D/FW board members said they were concerned that one of the first things visitors to North Texas will see is Rick's Cabaret.
"I'm not real happy about our flights coming in here and looking down on that signage and that kind of operation," said Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief, who has separately filed a letter with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. "Whether or not we can stop it remains to be seen."
Legally, there may not be much that the airport or civic leaders can do to stop Rick's Cabaret from opening.
Businesses that seek an alcohol sales permit must post notice of their intention for 60 days before the commission will consider it. Anyone can file a protest against the permit, but protesters must state legal reasons why they are opposed, such as a threat to public safety or the public's sense of decency.
In his letter, Moncrief contested the license on the grounds that the business will attract criminal elements involved in "drugs, gambling, prostitution, firearms and ... organized criminal activity."
Eric Langan, CEO of Rick's Cabaret, said that signs have been posted on the property for a year and that the sales permit application was filed in August. At the time, only CentrePort filed a protest; Langan said the two parties reached an agreement that involved building a fence between the complex and the club.
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