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July 3, 2014

Potential strip club sparking uproar

Pryor Times — People are still hot under the collar over the rumored opening of a strip club in Mayes County.

The club is said to be opening just east of  Stone Creek store on Highway 412. Mayes County District Two Commissioner Darrell Yoder, who has been bombarded with questions from outraged constituents, said he discovered the property is owned by Hai Ying from Joplin, Mo.

While no official word has been given confirming whether or not the site will be a strip club, Mayes County residents aren't taking it lying down.

“I have heard from several constituents, most of whom are not in favor of a strip club in rural Mayes County.  However, many of the contacts are from people who also oppose government regulation of private property rights and government interference with private business and enterprise,” said Rep. Ben Sherrer. “The solution lies with county zoning which Mayes County currently does not have.  In the event the County makes the decision to enact a countywide zoning program, reasonable land use restrictions could be crafted dealing with the operation of business which feature nude/partially nude dancing.  But it is unlikely an absolute prohibition would pass muster under the U.S. Constitution.”

Law enforcement's initial speculation was that if the businesses is what it is rumored to be, it will be geared to attract passing truck drivers.

One look at the website for Sensations Premier Gentlemen's Club owned by a Hai Ying, confirms that belief. The club is advertised as “providing top quality 18+ adult entertainment.”

The site homepage says Sensations is a  “safe and secure facility with big rig parking” and has the “best dancers in the four state area.”

The site boasts stage shows, lap dances and a private VIP section.

Ying's Sensations has been in headlines before.

In 2007 the Joplin Globe reported a federal grand jury in Kansas issued a felony indictment against Cherokee County Attorney Michael Goodrich.

According to the Globe, the indictment alleges that Goodrich received money and favors from the owner and employees of Sensation's Gentleman's Club in Kansas. The crime is said to have taken place between 2005 and 2007.

“Goodrich unlawfully received money and favors from Hai Ying, the owner of the strip club,”according to the Globe. “Goodrich received money and property from Sensations in exchange for favorable and preferential legal treatment for the owner, manager and employees of the club.”

Ying allegedly told the Globe he had contributed $500 to Goodrich's political campaign prior to the indictment.

Yoder said while there is no official confirmation that the construction will be a strip club, he's not going to wait and see.

“There's no official confirmation yet, it's all speculation. But we are using this time to gather information,” said Yoder who is meeting with several county officials and planning and zoning directors from neighboring counties. “I want to know what my constituents want me to do, how they want this handled. I will do whatever I can, within my power.”

Yoder said currently Mayes County has no planning and zoning restrictions that would prohibit a business of this nature from setting up shop.

Mayes County Assessor Lisa Melchior said the road directly west of the convenience store is the county line road between Mayes and Rogers County. The property being developed lies just east of the convenience store and was sold to Yink by Sooner Top-Shop LLC, who owns the convenience store, according to Melchior. The land taxable value, according to Melchior, is $118,172 and the net assessed value is $13,235. The property is listed as being just over six acres. The property is in the Chouteau-Mazie school district, is covered by Chouteau Fire Department and is in the Mayes County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction. The property is in neither Inola or Chouteau’s incorporated city limits so neither would receive sales tax revenue from the establishment.

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