South suburban residents said two strip clubs are “attracting the wrong types of people to the community” and would like to see the businesses relocate elsewhere.
Club 390, located at 390 E. Joe Orr Road, and Jimmy’s Gentlemen’s Club, 410 W. Lincoln Highway, are two Chicago Heights strip clubs residents said they no longer want in their community.
“Let them [Chicago Heights strip clubs] go to one of the other towns that allow naked women to walk around soliciting customers for sex,” said Margaret Kinney, 77, a Chicago Heights resident for 50 years. “I see cars parked along the road [near Club 390] on the weekends with girls inside doing ungodly things you don’t want to know about.”
Kinney said she plans to start a petition drive to get more residents involved and to force the clubs to relocate.
“I am not alone with this either. I have about 20 friends and neighbors who feel the same way,” she added. “I understand everybody has to make a living some kind of way, but this is not the right business for Chicago Heights.”
No opposition is being put forth by residents in south suburban Harvey, Markham and Ford Heights, which also has strip clubs.
One Chicago Heights grandmother met with residents this summer to discuss the good and bad about strip clubs.
But not much good was discussed at the meeting.
“I feel like this. If these places did not have nude women walking around that would discourage a certain group of people from even showing up. This same group of people go to these places looking to buy sex,” said Rufus Graham, 81. “There’s nothing wrong with a little entertainment especially when you are young. I know how it is because I was young once too. But what got me was when I saw a car drive out of the club and a woman was in the backseat having sex with another woman.”
Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez did not return calls seeking comment.
But management at Club 390 disputed such allegations and said if residents are seeing such activity it is not originating from their club.
“This is the first time I am hearing this. No one has ever complained to us about anything and we run a clean and legit business,” said Paul Marshal, who said he has managed the club the last couple of years. “We do not allow any illegal behavior from our girls or customers.”
Marshal added that the business has done well financially but declined to discuss revenues.
“This club has 150 dancers, VIPs customers and makes way too much money legitimately to do anything stupid,” Marshal said. “For 10 years we have been at the same location and have never had any issues with how we run the club.”
Chicago Heights Police Chief Charles Giuliani was unavailable for comment.
The Examiner visited Club 390, which is located next to a shuttered factory, and spoke to several customers including one, who declined to give his name.
“I sometimes come here to have a beer, play the slot machines or watch a show,” the man said. “The dancers have always been courtesy and professional with me. I don’t have a problem with the club or strips clubs in general.”
Marshal clarified that his business is a gentleman’s club and not strip parlor.
According to Marshal, a strip club has a different environment and clientele.
“We cater to executives, middle to upper-class patrons and a more mature crowd opposed to some strip clubs that cater to a younger audience,” said Marshal.
When the Examiner visited Jimmy’s, which is located within a busy commercial area, management and its owner, Jimmy Leonardo, declined comment.
And located adjacent to the strip club is Jimmy’s Restaurant.
“That’s what I am talking about. Who goes to eat lunch and then walk across the way to watch women take their clothes off and show their private parts?” said Kinney. “The men and women who go there ought to be ashamed of themselves and so should the owners for supplying such filth.”