After failing to dissuade zoners from granting relief, a Knight in Shining Armor came to Dennis' aid. Bill Malkames, perhaps the Lehigh Valley's best zoning attorney, took on the cause. And he would do this at no cost at all to Dennis or other East Side residents.
But who's paying the legal tab? Attorneys thought it might be Erv himself, especially since he has another strip club in Bath.
Yesterday, everyone found out the truth. Malkames is being paid by Brian Segel, an Allentown realtor who claimed he was doing this for the community.
But testimony revealed that Segel is the Realtor who closed the deal when another strip club, Scarlett's Grand International was sold in June for $800,000. Josh Kessler and a silent business partner from Harrisburg's Savannah's on Hanna, will soon open a new strip club on the Lehigh Street property. Obviously, Platinum Plus would cut into their own platinum.
Malkames provided Judge Johnson with case law stating there is nothing improper about being paid by a third party. But Pearson has a different view. After it was all over, he told me that neither he nor other East Side neighbors would have agreed to this arrangement had they known the facts. He was victimized.
I still think he'd look good doing a pole dance, but he denies that he intends to audition as a Chippendale.
Judge Johnson chided Segel, but the real question he must decide is whether the Platinum Plus expansion is lawful and a new use.