Cheaters, A Rhode Island Institution, Is Closing
(Source) PROVIDENCE — A strip club where a missing Boston 15-year-old girl was found dancing in July is up for sale — along with the adjoining adult bookstore, strip club, gay bathhouse and “personal service club.”
Cheaters Gentlemens Club, at 245 Allens Ave., faces a possible closure by the city license board for hiring an underage girl and for the arrest of a dancer who allegedly solicited an undercover detective.
The big pink strip club is part of the “adult entertainment center” listed on stripclubs4sale.com with an asking price of $8 million. The ad says the business and real estate — strip clubs, bookstore, megaplex club, “personal service club,” and two vacant spaces — are valued at $11.23 million.
“This is an outstanding business opportunity that offers cash flow in excess of $2.5 million!”
The ad doesn’t give the exact location in Providence or reveal the names of the businesses, but the description only fits the Allens Avenue properties owned by H. Charles Tapalian and registered to him and his family: Cheaters, Studio 253, Mega-Plex, Adult Video & News, and The Body Shoppe, all listed at 245, 253, and 257 Allens Ave.
Tapalian refused to speak to a Providence Journal reporter Thursday regarding the sale.
The advertisement went up on July 22, a week before the police found an underage Boston girl dancing at Cheaters. The teen was accompanied by a Massachusetts sex offender, who the police say put her to work in the club and was acting as a pimp for her and another 15-year-old girl.
The Providence police say that the teen solicited an undercover detective — and a week later, on Aug. 8, one of the veteran dancers did the same, saying the fee was payable to her and “the house.”
Tapalain closed Cheaters the next day, and a sign was hung on the door that the club was “closed for renovations.” There are no recent permits for renovations at the property on file at the city Building Department.
The city license board is expected to hold a hearing on Cheaters on Sept. 16. Providence police Capt. Anthony Sauro said the police want the club shut down. He says the club violated state law and city ordinance by hiring an underage girl and violated the city ordinance against chronic nuisance properties.
Cheaters came under investigation in 2009, after a 16-year-old runaway from Boston told Providence police that she’d been working at the strip club. That led to a city ordinance and state law banning anyone under 18 from working in the adult entertainment business. Licensed establishments that violate the ordinance face fines of up to $500 for a first offense and up to $1,000 for subsequent offenses.
City Council President Michael A. Solomon, who sponsored that ordinance, plans to introduce legislation next week to require the sex businesses to get criminal-background checks on prospective employees to verify their ages.
Is nothing sacred? Cheaters is where dreams came true. I got my first lap dance there at 16 and I wasn’t even the youngest one there. That’s an important moment in a young mans life, and now you’re my throwing my memories in the trash. I’m legitimately heartbroken. Although I never knew they had a gay bathhouse on site. Turning down an offer from a stripper to head into the bathhouse now ranks pretty high on my list of things I’m glad I refused to do.
P.S. Imagine the surprise of the out of town businessman who reads that ad in the paper and shows up to Cheaters. I’ve heard you get syphillis just by looking at the stage.