Archive for Thursday, March 15, 2001

Deputies search club, take records

Investigators say: undercover officers witnessed topless dancing at Whispers

March 15, 2001

Leavenworth County sheriff's deputies seized business records from Whispers Cabaret in the county's effort to determine whether the club has violated a county resolution prohibiting topless dancing.

Investigators entered Whispers Cabaret, located in the Ma Belle's bar and grill on Kansas Highway 7, about 3 p.m. Tuesday, and seized records pertaining to the private club.

Leavenworth County District Attorney Frank Kohl could not comment on exactly what records were seized, but said the investigation into Whispers Cabaret has been on-going.

Leavenworth County sheriff's officers stand outside Whispers
Cabaret, located at Ma Belle's on K-7 Highway just outside Basehor.
The deputies served a search warrant at the club Tuesday, taking
business and employment records from the club.

Leavenworth County sheriff's officers stand outside Whispers Cabaret, located at Ma Belle's on K-7 Highway just outside Basehor. The deputies served a search warrant at the club Tuesday, taking business and employment records from the club.

Kohl obtained the search warrant after the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department sent two plain-clothes Brown County deputies to the club March 8 to confirm reports of nudity and topless dancing.

"Basically what we did was execute a warrant based on the information we got from the Brown County deputies who went in Whispers last Thursday," Kohl said. "Warrants have been issued to search for evidence of possible violations of state statutes and county resolutions"

In their investigation, the Brown County deputies viewed lap dances, as well as nudity, Kohl said.

There was also a private VIP room, but it appeared not to be in use, Kohl said.

After a story in last week's Sentinel, Leavenworth County Counselor David Van Parys mailed a letter to the head of the corporation that owns Whispers Cabaret asking the business to stop all topless dancing.

The letter was sent to Vicki Eldridge, resident agent of Whispers Merlynn, Inc., and wife of former Leavenworth County Commissioner Wayne Eldridge.

Last August, the Leavenworth County Commission passed a resolution banning nude dancing in unincorporated areas of Leavenworth County.

Wayne Eldridge was chairman of the commission at the time of the resolution and denied rumors that Ma Belle's was being renovated for the purpose of an adult entertainment club or juice bar.

Wayne Eldridge has denied any knowledge of nude dancing at Whispers Cabaret and has directed all questions to attorney Dick Bryant, whose firm is in Kansas City, Mo.

Bryant, in an interview on Wednesday, said Whispers Cabaret could possibly file a civil lawsuit against Leavenworth County regarding the search warrants.

"We are exploring the possibility of filing a civil rights lawsuit against the county for civil rights violations," Bryant said. "They are investigating allegations that are spurned by a governing body that there are illegal activities that have occurred."

Bryant said Whispers Cabaret does not feature nude entertainment as it is defined in the resolution, and the company could decide to challenge the constitutionality of the county resolution.

"At this point, we don't believe that particular resolution applies because there is no nude entertainment as that term is defined by the resolution," Bryant said.

Bryant said the majority of records seized were returned Tuesday night so the business could still have access to its own records.

Kohl said there have been no charges filed and no one associated with Whispers Cabaret has been officially questioned in matter.

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