Pussycat Cabaret owners face new charges
By John Weiss
WABASHA — Pussycat Cabaret in Zumbro Falls has two more dates in court, both for remaining open in spite of what the city and Wabasha County say is a violation of a judge’s order to obey all the city’s ordinances.
According to records of Wabasha District Court, owners Jeff and Shakiba DeWitz were each cited April 1 for operating without a permit. Shakiba DeWitz also was cited for violating the city’s ordinance against nude dancing. Both charges are misdemeanors. Arraignment is set for May 4.
In addition, the city has filed a contempt of court civil suit against the club for not obeying its ordinances, Mayor Alan VanDeWalker said. That is set for a May 5 hearing.
The general business permit needed is a basic one that all businesses must have before opening, telling the city what the business will be, City Clerk Joyce Greer said.
"Everybody else in town has one," she said. Pussycat’s owners "didn’t bother to file for any of this stuff before they opened."
When the club did file for a permit in February, the city denied the request because the club had opened illegally, she said.
The two new charges are the latest step in a fight the city is waging to close the club that offers nude dancing.
Pussycat Cabaret opened in January without the owners telling anyone what it was and without the permit. The city quickly passed an ordinance against public nudity and another setting up a moratorium on adult businesses so the city could decide on new rules about where such businesses can be.
The city sued, asking the judge to rule that the club had to follow its ordinances.
About a month ago, a judge ruled the club was in violation of the anti-nudity ordinance and that the club had to obey the rule, despite opening before it was passed, because it wasn’t open legally. The other ordinance, however, is unconstitutional, he said.
The club has stayed open, VanDeWalker said.
The owners said their dancers will wear pasties and G-strings.
According to the report on a visit by sheriff’s deputies March 25, "all three women (workers) had no clothes on from the waist up" except for pasties. Two wore G-strings; one of the women was Shakiba DeWitz.
Jeff and Shakiba Dewitz, of Rochester, had owned the Showgirl Saloon in Austin, which featured nude dancing. The city of Austin acquired Showgirl Saloon for $295,000 last year as part of the city's effort to own all of the properties in a two-block site for Mower County's proposed jail and justice center. The Dewitzes didn't open another business in Austin.