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Club Chit Chat owner pressured to discourage recent 'criminality'

The owner of a strip club in the Clinton-Fillmore neighborhood has been put on notice by city officials that he must do more to discourage "criminality" around his business.

Club Chit Chat has come under intense criticism following a rash of crimes that have occurred outside the club at 1048 Clinton St., including a deadly shooting earlier this month.

Common Council President David A. Franczyk, who represents the Fillmore neighborhood where the club is located, said about 50 residents, city officials and representatives from the State Liquor Authority attended a meeting Thursday night. Franczyk claimed there were some lively moments after a club security guard allegedly became "belligerent" with neighbors as they complained about persistent problems.

Franczyk said he was pleased that the chief of the Ferry-Fillmore Police District attended the meeting and made it clear that she expects the club to do more to curb problems.

"Marcia Scott said that there's something wrong. There's some kind of environment in that club that is attracting this kind of criminality," Franczyk said Friday.

The Police Department isn't prepared to comment on the situation, spokesman Michael DeGeorge said Friday.

"Chief Scott has requested a meeting with the owner of the club to discuss some of the issues on the table," was all DeGeorge would say.

Meanwhile, the club issued a two-page letter insisting that it has already been enforcing a number of restrictions, including a requirement that all patrons must be at least 25 years of age.

In the letter, the club promised to have at least two security guards on staff each night and to install additional outdoor security cameras. The club also will not accept limousine busloads of patrons, nor will it cater to parties, including stag parties.

Club owner Gary Procyshyn did not attend Thursday's meeting. But in an interview with The Buffalo News on Tuesday, he insisted that he runs a "respectable" adult entertainment club. He denied Franczyk's claim that he has hired a new manager to run the operation.

"I don't believe it," Franczyk responded Friday. "My suspicion is he's fobbed it off on somebody and doesn't have the hands-on [management] anymore."

Any change of management or ownership would require the business to reapply for licenses and permits, Franczyk said.

The Council president also was critical of Procyshyn's claims that crime problems have occurred because of a diminished police presence in the neighborhood. The club owner also encouraged city officials to compare the number of police calls around his business -- about 100 in the past three years -- with the number of trouble calls in the Chippewa Entertainment District. Procyshyn called the Chippewa district "City Hall's little baby."

"He plays the blame game," Franczyk responded. "We're not talking about Chippewa."

Inspections Commissioner James W. Comerford said a city inspector attended Thursday's meeting. Comerford said his department is monitoring activities at the club.

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com

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