Gloria's Cantina Lounge in North Huntingdon padlocked by sheriff's office
The lawyer for a North Huntingdon strip club that has been in business since the 1970s said on Tuesday there is no evidence to support that it constituted a nuisance bar.
Attorney Dante Bertani said a police investigation that resulted in the arrests last week of two dancers and a patron at Gloria's Cantina Lounge on Route 30 on drug and prostitution allegations cannot be supported.
Hours after the arrests, the club was padlocked by the county's sheriff's department.
“I have no idea why they want to close Gloria's up. There is no evidence she (owner Gloria Brugnoli) did anything wrong. It's crazy. It's horrible,” Bertani said.
On Friday, Judge Gary Caruso issued a preliminary order finding the strip club as a nuisance bar and ordered that another hearing be convened Tuesday on a request from District Attorney John Peck to have the closing made permanent.
That hearing before Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. was delayed until Nov. 19 to allow Bertani more time to prepare his case. Bertani said he will present testimony from other dancers and staff members who are expected to tell the judge that no prostitution occurred in the club.
“There is no evidence that anyone saw any sex and only that it was patrons selling the drugs. The police just got the impression they were selling sex,” Bertani said.
Bertani said the club, which has had only one minor violation since it opened in the 1970s, is not a nuisance bar.
According to police reports, the undercover investigators purchased drugs and were propositioned for sex during a three-month probe of the club.
Arrested last week were Nathan Edward Moore, 34, of Pitcairn and Ashlee Nicole Campbell, 30, of East Pittsburgh, who are charged with drug possession with intent to deliver; and Selene Amber Vicini, 35, of Rochester, Beaver County, who is charged with prostitution.
The club's owner, Brugnoli, 83, has not been charged.
Peck said the investigation is ongoing.
“It appears there is additional information and witnesses regarding prostitution that is still being investigated by the state police,” he said.
The club will remain closed pending the outcome of next week's hearing.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.