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North Huntingdon strip club closed for prostitution, drug sale claims could reopen

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A padlocked strip club could reopen in North Huntingdon under a court settlement that is expected to be presented to a Westmoreland County judge on Tuesday.

The lawyer for Gloria's Cantina Lounge said on Monday the bar, which has operated on Route 30 for three decades with male and female dancers, could soon resume business.

The strip club has been closed since November because a state police raid resulted in the arrest of two dancers and a patron.

District Attorney John Peck last year filed court documents seeking to have Gloria's declared a nuisance bar so it could be permanently closed. Two days of hearings were held late last year, when undercover state police troopers testified that illegal drug sales and prostitution had occurred at the club.

More testimony was to be heard on Monday, but Peck and club owner Gloria Brugnoli's lawyer, Dante Bertani, said a deal could be approved on Tuesday to end the case.

“It will allow her to reopen, but she will have to meet certain conditions,” Bertani said. He declined to reveal specifics of the proposed settlement, which will be outlined in court.

Peck declined to discuss details of the proposed agreement.

The lawyers are expected to meet Tuesday morning with Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr., when the proposed settlement could be finalized.

The club has been in business since 1971. Its owner, 83-year-old Brugnoli, has not been charged. She has denied any knowledge of illegal activity that led to the closure.

“She's been dealing with the problem and living on her husband's pension. Money is tight,” Bertani said.

State police investigators said five undercover stings were conducted at the business between Sept. 5 and Oct. 10. Agents were sold drugs and propositioned for sex, the troopers have testified.

The building was padlocked in early November. Last week, the state police Liquor Control Enforcement division issued five citations against Gloria's for alleged violations, including failure to display its liquor license, operating without a valid health permit and allowing cigarette and cigar smoking.

Bertani on Monday disputed those allegations.

Club patron Edward Moore, 24, of McKeesport pleaded guilty in May to two drug charges for selling cocaine at Gloria's last year. He was sentenced to serve 11 12 to 23 months in jail and five years of probation.

Dancers Ashlee Nicole Campbell, 31, of Pittsburgh's Bloomfield neighborhood, and Selene Amber Vicini, 35, of McKeesport are scheduled for court appearances this week. Campbell faces drug charges, and Vicini is charged with prostitution.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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