Former commissioner charged
A former Leavenworth County commissioner, who owns an adult entertainment business, has been charged with violating county and state laws regulating nudity and prostitution.
Wayne Eldridge, owner and operator of Whispers Cabaret, located in the building of Ma Belles just outside Basehor on Kansas Highway 7, has been charged with aiding and abetting public nudity, promoting prostitution and promoting obscenity.
All three charges are misdemeanors.
The charges stem from an investigation conducted by two plain-clothes Brown County Sheriff's Department deputies on March 8. The deputies allegedly observed topless dancing and lap dances at Whispers, according to the charges.
Four dancers who worked at Whispers are also charged in connection to alleged illegal activity at the club.
Carolyn Trader, 24, Loretta Matlock, 23, and Amanda Nault, 24, are charged with public nudity.
A fourth dancer, Laura Campos, 25, is charged with public nudity, prostitution and promoting obscenity.
All of the charges against the dancers are misdemeanors. If convicted, the women could face a fine, jail time or probation, authorities said.
Eldridge could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Dick Bryant, said he had not received a copy of the criminal complaint and declined to comment until he had reviewed the charges.
In March, Bryant said Whispers Cabaret did not feature nude entertainment as it is defined in the county resolution and the club would challenge the constitutionality of the county resolution.
Eldridge, a former Leavenworth County Commissioner, signed a resolution in 2000 that prohibits nude dancing in the county.
Also to be determined is the status of the club. Eldridge has maintained the club is private, therefore, it is exempt from the county resolution.
Leavenworth County District Attorney Frank Kohl has said the club was a public club and in violation of the resolution. Just because the club has private-type areas does not make Whispers a private club, Kohl said.
Eldridge is set to make his first court appearance at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, in the Leavenworth County District Court.