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Munhall strip club allowed to reopen

| Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 3:51 a.m.
Club Pink in Munhall, site of a fatal shooting this year has closed its doors for good.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Club Pink in Munhall, site of a fatal shooting this year has closed its doors for good.

A judge has determined that Club Pink strip club in Munhall may reopen.

The club along E. Eighth Avenue closed March 21.

Borough council met for a public hearing the previous day and ordered the shutdown by revoking the club's occupancy permit. The hearing was in response to a fatal shooting near the club on March 3.

The club filed an emergency motion to allow it to reopen, saying the borough had no legal right to order the shut down.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph James at a hearing on Monday noted his order allowing the club to reopen under its previous operating hours of 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., “will not resolve the dispute” between the club and the borough.

That dispute includes questions of whether the club may have alcohol on the premises without a liquor license and issues about the amount of contact dancers can have with patrons.

Borough solicitor Greg Evashavik and club attorney David Toal both signed their agreement to the order, indicating they would work to resolve disputes.

The judge noted that in agreeing to the order, neither side was waiving their rights to pursue in court claims to unresolved issues.

The judge also noted that under the order the club will be required to its regular security staff a certified police officer.

Security at the club has consisted of two security officers on weeknights and six security guards on weekends.

After the hearing, Evashavik said the borough wants the police officers added primarily on weekends when most of the problems occur.

“The bottom line is safety,” said Evashavik, noting the borough has to look out for the well-being of patrons, employees and people in the vicinity of the club.

Evashavik said, “They have the right to operate which we have to recognize.”

Club Pink owners Robert Marino and John Posteraro, in their appeal of the borough's decision, also sought to recover $10,000 a day for each day their business was closed. The judge did not address that issue in his remarks.

Representatives of the club did not comment following the hearing.

The shooting that sparked this latest controversy involving the club remains in the courts.

Paul Barone, 23, of Munhall is awaiting his preliminary hearing in connection with the shooting that resulted in the death of John Sumpter IV, 32, of Pittsburgh. Barone, who is charged with homicide and weapons violations, is being held in Allegheny County Jail without bail. His hearing date is set for April 26.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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