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Munhall strip club owners agree to temporary closure

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 4:26 a.m.

After meeting with the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office on Tuesday, owners of a Munhall strip club have agreed to close it until March 15.

Munhall officials have been concerned that Club Pink has become a nuisance. The fatal shooting of John Sumpter IV, 32, of Pittsburgh initiated recent talks of shutting the establishment down. Sumpter died of gunshots to his head and right extremities after an argument on Sunday at approximately 4 a.m. near the strip club in the 900 block of E. Eighth Avenue.

Paul Barone, 23, of Munhall, is charged with his murder.

Mike Manko, spokesman for county District Attorney Stephen Zappala, said any reopening of Club Pink is “pending the correction of numerous deficiencies involving both local zoning ordinances and the crimes code.”

He continued, “If those deficiencies are not corrected, the club will be forced to close again.”

Manko declined to comment on any violations of the crimes code because the club owners are not charged.

Club Pink co-owner Bob Marino said his understanding is that the club is to be closed for “a cooling down period,” not to fix any violations.

“The reason I'm voluntarily closing down is because they suggested it as a cooling off period,” he said. “It had nothing to do with conforming to any type of code.”

Marino said that period is supposed to ensure that no retaliation shootings occur.

Munhall officials also were present at the Tuesday meeting with the district attorney.

“Everybody went through ordinances and they went through what the law is,” Mayor Raymond Bodnar said. “The DA was generous in giving them the time to look over everything.”

Police Chief Pat Campbell said Club Pink owners and its security director “made it clear they do business here and make money here.”

“The director of security said he went to a local business and he was confronted by somebody he removed from that club,” he said. “He said, ‘I'll never come out here in a social setting.' Well this is my home and this is the mayor's home. This is where we chose to raise our family. We want to make sure everything is good. We're not here for a couple days a week. If they don't understand that, shame on them.”

Munhall officials have scheduled a public hearing on March 20 at 6 p.m. in council chambers to hear testimony on whether Club Pink is a nuisance bar or violates the borough ordinance on adult entertainment.

Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or slee@tribweb.com.

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