North Huntingdon strip club owner fights shutdown order
An 83-year-old businesswoman said on Monday that she did nothing wrong in running her now-padlocked North Huntingdon strip club.
Gloria Brugnoli was in court to fight an effort by Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck to have Gloria's Cantina Lounge on Route 30 permanently shuttered.
Peck contends that criminal activity at the club, which has been a fixture on the western end of the township since 1971 and located next to the Hartford Heights Volunteer Fire Department, warrants it being declared a nuisance bar.
Earlier this month, police charged two of the club's dancers with drug offenses and prostitution and a patron with drug dealing.
“I don't feel I did anything wrong. I'm sure I'm not guilty,” Brugnoli said during a court break. “I don't believe in smoking cigarettes, let alone that funny stuff.”
Brugnoli has not been charged with a crime, although Peck said on Monday that the investigation into activity at Gloria's is ongoing.
Nathan Edward Moore, 34, of Pitcairn and Ashlee Nicole Campbell, 30, of East Pittsburgh were charged with drug possession with intent to deliver; and Selene Amber Vicini, 35, of Rochester, Beaver County, was charged with prostitution.
Their preliminary hearings before District Judge Doug Weimer were canceled on Monday and rescheduled for Dec. 3.
Peck wants Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. to issue a permanent injunction to keep the strip club closed. Judge Gary Caruso temporarily shut the club in early November.
One witness testified Monday that dancers and customers were selling sex and drugs as Brugnoli sat nearby at the bar.
State police Trooper Michael Noel said he and another undercover vice investigator went to Gloria's five times over three months and saw dancers offer to have sex with customers for $60. Noel said he purchased painkillers and cocaine from a customer.
Noel testified that customers would pay $60 for a private session with a dancer in an upstairs room. The dancer and Brugnoli would split the money, he told McCormick.
“One dancer said that anything goes and there are no cameras,” Noel testified.
Brugnoli's lawyer, Dante Bertani, argued that his client reported the drug dealing to North Huntingdon police prior to the arrests this month.
The dancers did not work for Brugnoli but were self-employed and worked only for tips, Bertani said.
The hearing will continue on Dec. 17, when another undercover trooper is scheduled to testify, along with five defense witnesses, including Brugnoli.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: After reinterpreting rule, draft pick sought for Bylsma’s hiring
- Dormont man missing since Wednesday found dead at Station Square
- Belle Vernon scores 4 runs in wild 7th inning to capture WPIAL title
- Police: Man riding bike in New Kensington strikes truck, dies
- Sabres hire Bylsma as coach; Penguins receive 3rd-round pick
- NFL notebook: Broncos left tackle Clady tears ACL, likely out for season
- Pirates’ Morton hopes he’s past injury-riddled part of career
- Gorman: Team Dugan gets gold, like a champ
- Pyrotechnics to be used in TV filming in New Kensington
- Penguins GM Rutherford ‘wouldn’t make’ Despres trade today
- Healthy defensive back Mitchell eager for 2nd season with Steelers