The owner of Le Girls--a nude juice bar at 5151 East Washington--faces fines and a possible prison sentence after pleading guilty to obscenity and liquor violations at a topless club in Kansas. The Kansas City, Kansas, club, Legs, has been ordered closed for at least two years, and its owners have been stripped of the right to hold liquor licenses in Kansas, according to Wyandotte County District Attorney Nick Tomasic.
In Phoenix, Le Girls is operating as a nude juice bar because the Arizona Liquor Board denied the applicant's request for a liquor license for a club that was to be called Ziegfield's.
But the Ziegfield's license was denied solely because of location; information on the owners' scrapes with the law in other states was never presented to the state Liquor Board.
The defendants in the Kansas cases are Gregory "Jack" Anderson, his brother, Vance, and their corporations.
Jack Anderson owns the land and building that houses Le Girls, but the liquor-license application in Arizona was made in the name of his son, Cary Anderson, who is president and sole stockholder in Ziegfield's Inc. Cary Anderson formerly helped manage Legs in Kansas City, and now works as day manager of Le Girls. Next March, Cary Anderson will be eligible to reapply for a liquor license for the Phoenix site. And unless Howard Adams, director of the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, turns investigative reports about the Andersons' Kansas business history over to the Liquor Board, which grants licenses--and reveals new information that has surfaced in the interim--Ziegfield's might be successful this time.
New Times reported last summer that Adams had quashed a protest of the Ziegfield's license planned by Mark Mazzie, Adams' predecessor as head of the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control (A Fixer Takes Over," July 28).
Last March, the Liquor Board rejected the liquor-license request for Ziegfield's--which was to feature scantily clad women--based on concerns about location. Because Adams withheld his own department's investigative reports about the Andersons' operations in other states, Liquor Board members were never told about Kansas authorities' crackdown on Legs, at which Arizona applicant Cary Anderson was ostensibly learning the tricks of the adult-entertainment trade.
During testimony before the Arizona Liquor Board, Cary Anderson told board members who were concerned about his youth--he's in his mid-20s--that he was gaining valuable management experience as an assistant manager at Legs. He explained that he was responsible for hiring and firing employees, handling payroll and ordering liquor. And, Cary Anderson assured the board, "I have to control the club in a perfect manner." At the time, Adams chose to ignore information about liquor violations at Legs and other clubs owned by the Anderson family. Now there's more.
On November 30, Jack Anderson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of "promoting obscenity" by allowing dancers to perform "lap dances" at Legs, according to Tomasic. During a lap dance, a dancer sits on a customer's lap and gyrates against his groin.
Jack Anderson's brother and Legs' co-owner, Vance Anderson, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of falsifying information on an application for a Kansas liquor license. Tomasic says Vance Anderson failed to reveal a prior conviction for auto theft in Missouri. Although Vance Anderson was later pardoned, the record of conviction stands, Tomasic says.
Tomasic also reports that both Red Apple Inc. (which operated Legs) and its parent company, Entertainment America Inc., pleaded guilty to felony charges of falsifying a liquor-license application. According to accounting records seized by the district attorney, Vance and Jack Anderson each owned half of the corporate stock; the application indicated that Vance Anderson was the sole stockholder. (In 1991, the Kansas City Star reported that Jack Anderson sold his interest in Legs to Vance Anderson, after it was revealed that Jack Anderson had been convicted of diamond theft in 1957 in Tennessee.)
No date has been set for sentencing, Tomasic says, but the Anderson brothers could face prison time and fines.
Neither Jack Anderson nor Cary Anderson returned telephone calls from New Times.
To build a case against Legs, a former FBI technician visited Legs on 25 occasions, compiling a six-hour video that was reviewed by a Wyandotte County court last August, Tomasic says. The judge issued a temporary injunction shutting the club down after reviewing the videotape and additional evidence uncovered by Kansas authorities in a June raid of Legs. Charges included possession of drugs, the patronizing of prostitutes and assorted liquor violations.
Tomasic says that until he saw the videotape, "I didn't believe what was going on inside [Legs] was really happening. There was actual intercourse going on . . . right at the table." The Anderson family and the Kansas authorities go way back. In 1987, the family paid $100,000 in liquor fines for Legs (then known as the Red Apple Lounge). Other Anderson clubs in Kansas--Bachelors III and Ziegfield's--were slapped with city zoning and nudity violations.
According to the Star, in 1978, Jack Anderson's car was bombed outside the Red Apple Lounge. The entryway of another Anderson club, Bachelors III, was bombed in 1985. Legs was bombed in 1990. The Kansas Ziegfield's and Bachelors III closed in 1990 and 1991, respectively. Last week, the court ordered an injunction prohibiting the Andersons and their corporations from operating an adult-entertainment business at the Legs site for two years, Tomasic says, adding that he is confident that the brothers will never operate topless bars in his state again. "With these convictions that we got, they can't ever get a [liquor] license in Kansas again," he says. That might not keep the Andersons out of other states. Spokesmen for the Phoenix Ziegfield's indicated last summer that the Andersons were looking at possible club sites in San Diego and Las Vegas, as well as the site in Phoenix.
After the Liquor Board's March rejection of its application, Ziegfield's owners asked for a rehearing; in the meantime, they strong-armed area business owners by threatening to open an all-nude juice bar if the businesses didn't support their liquor-license application. The east Phoenix site is 1,000 feet from historic Tovrea Castle, and near other cultural attractions.
Some business owners who had opposed the Ziegfield's license were swayed by the Andersons' threat to open Bazooka's, which they were told would take the place of Ziegfield's if the liquor license was rejected. The Ziegfield's foes were warned that Bazooka's would feature nude dancers, sexual paraphernalia and garish neon signs. Under state law, an establishment with a liquor license faces strict regulation regarding hours of operation and nudity.
The Liquor Board held firm, rejecting the request for a rehearing in August. And in mid-October, the neon signs went up and the club--operating not as Bazooka's, but as Le Girls--opened at the Washington Street location.
According to Arizona law, Ziegfield's is eligible to reapply for a liquor license one year from the original date of rejection, which took place last March. Jack Anderson owns the land and building where Le Girls operates, but Arizona law prohibits denial of a license because of the background of the landowner.
Cary Anderson was not charged with any crimes with regard to the Legs operation, and therefore remains eligible to reapply for a license in Arizona.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.