Davenport Changes Policy To Avoid Future Lawsuits - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Changes Policy To Avoid Future Lawsuits

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The city of Davenport has ended a long court battle with a local strip club, settling for $270,000. Now, the city is making a change to keep this from happening again. 

In 2009, Davenport denied the Chorus Line a cabaret license, citing an ordinance that forbids two adult entertainment businesses from being within 500 feet of each other. City Administrator Craig Malin inspected the club and the lingerie shop next door and deemed them both adult establishments and denied the license.    

The Chorus Line sued, citing personal bias and fundamental unfairness. Since then,  several courts sided with the Chorus Line.  

"You do what you think is right, you make decisions you think are right, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose," Davenport Alderman at Large Gene Meeker says. 

$270,000 and four years later the city's court battle is over. Now officials are taking steps to prevent a repeat of this case by keeping city staff from being the decision-makers in disputes with the city and avoiding liability in the future. 

"We're going to develop a list of possible arbitrators who can work on assigned cases for us, rather than having the staff and elected officials do it," Meeker says. 

Meeker says city officials have been settling all kinds of disputes with residents for years. 

"We've had elected officials arbitrate barking dogs and dog issues and stuff," he says.

But this case has encouraged them to hire independent decision makers in city disputes from now on.  

"Now that you look back, you kind of wonder why we hadn't done this before quite frankly," Meeker says, "Just taking away the exposure and potential liability from these people is very much worth this decision by the council." 

The attorney for the Chorus Line says the original policy was bad from the start. 

"There's too many conflicts of interest involved, in this case you have a city official making an administrative decision after he has already been involved in the case," Chorus Line Attorney Michael Meloy says.     

He says this case's outcome proves it.

"When you receive over one quarter million dollars from the City of Davenport, there was something that wasn't done right," Meloy says, "In my opinion, another city employee who cost the city lose over one quarter of one million dollars might be fired."

For now, Alderman Meeker says the council hasn't discussed any consequences for Craig Malin, who made the call to deny the Chorus Line license, which ultimately cost the city this settlement.  

"If we begin to hear anything from the citizens, we'll react to it, but I think right now most of Davenport would support the council's decision, it's time to move on," Meeker says. 

TV6 talked to Craig Malin by phone Friday, he says he hasn't had anything to do with the chorus line since 2009. He says: "I was a guy who did my job to uphold the ordinance, if the ordinance requires changing, then that's in progress."

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