Davenport taxpayers are getting hit with the biggest strip club cover charge ever: $270,000.

Still, it’s a bargain.

City Administrator Craig Malin’s well-intentioned but botched crackdown on the Chorus Line, 4128 N. Brady, put the city in a position where state and federal courts agreed: This ham-handed enforcement left the city liable for the strip club’s lost business and legal fees.

Strip club owner Nadeem Mazhar, of Bettendorf, was seeking $561,550, but agreed to about half that last week. The lump sum puts him back in a horribly exploitive business that, nonetheless, is 100 percent legal in Iowa.

We won’t dispute the merits of First Amendment protections that enable nude dancing, along with a free press. But we will note that strip clubs do little to encourage neighboring development. Nor do they engender pride in the families of patrons or performers.

Davenport police responded to a shooting outside the club March 30. A stabbing was reported Nov. 3. The club manager was sentenced to a 10-year prison term for the 2011 sexual assault of a drunken performer who had passed out.

So we understand why Malin attempted to block the reopening of this strip club after it closed in 2008. An adult boutique had opened in its place. So when the Mazhar attempted to reopen, Malin seized on city code that prevents adult business operating so closely together. The boutique, however, had been licensed by the city as a retail boutique, not adult business. Malin personally inspected the boutique merchandise and came to a different conclusion.

But judge after judge agreed: City records didn’t classify the boutique as an adult business, so the city’s restriction on adult businesses didn’t apply. Worse, judge after judge determined Malin exceeded his authority by investigating, then serving in his role as hearing administrator for adult business zoning disputes.

"The record is quite clear from both the transcript and the written decision that Defendant Craig Malin assumed a personal commitment to a particular result, that is, the denial of the license," the appellate court wrote. "This combination of all three functions of investigation, advocacy and adjudication, has the appearance of fundamental unfairness in this administrative hearing, thus vitiating its legal effect."

Strip club owner Mazhar is taking that unfairness all the way to the bank. Now he operates on North Brady, doing little to revitalize a corridor that still has too many vacant storefronts.

And taxpayers pay the price for a zealous city administrator who didn’t know when to quit.

(23) comments

georgeandersonxyz
georgeandersonxyz

Only $270K? Congratulations, Craig, why don't you give yourself another well-deserved (and unauthorized) pay raise?

LindaMarie
LindaMarie

And who were the lawyers representing the city? Wasn't this the same firm in charge of that debacle in Durant over the firing of the superintendent? Maybe these lawyers don't know when to tell their clients to just do what the law says is right in the first place - but that wouldn't rack up a zillion dollars in lawyers' fees, would it?

ohreally
ohreally

If I made that big a mistake at my job I would be fired. That is what should happen to Malin!!

RIC
RIC

Time after time, case after case, the City of Davenport is paying out BIG money to different law firms to represent the City. The questions: why does the City have a legal department that is so incompetent that it cannot adequately handle the major cases and provide legal representation. Get a City Attorney that knows how to do the job and a staff that can keep up with the needs of the City.

sundance
sundance

Good point.

Shaggy
Shaggy

So it seems that the politics in Davenport are not much different then that of the Politics in Washington.. A city administrator that demands more money or else is he's gone elsewhere has again cost the City big $$$.

daniel nicholson
daniel nicholson

Where can the city find the mony to pay this claim? They couldn t find any money to pay the sewer claims without raseing the sewer fees? They got to go in november city hall.

snowman05
snowman05

Will there be a pole fee?

Crusader
Crusader

It will be paid by the Risk fund. That is where lawsuits are paid from.

Concerned Parent 60
Concerned Parent 60

So Malin made a mistake in the way he attempted to keep a business, that most would prefer be kept out of our city, out of a critical retail corridor that needs investment? People make mistakes. I believe he has done a good job in this town considering the city councils he has had to work with in the past and their propensity to overstep their job description. For Malin, this has often been akin to herding cats. Not having a revolving door at City Manager has allowed a consistency in policy and direction that has served the city well, and will serve it well in the future.

Charger
Charger

At every turn of the case he was wrong and it was pointed out to him by court after court yet he pursued it anyway. It's just a plain stupid waste of money to stroke his ego and own sense of morals.

davenportchick
davenportchick

You have got to be kidding? What ignorance drives your thinking? Let me guess you too will vote for his little pocket buddy Gluba too? WE the taxpayers pay for his stupid mistake, what part of that don't you get? Stick your head in the sand again, ignorance is bliss.

credit island
credit island

Rather amazing that the Time's Editors fail to mention the $80,000.00 paid out in legal fees to defend the City in this matter. Where is the Mayor and the Council? Anyone protecting the taxpayers? When are the citizens of Davenport going to demand a change?

Crusader
Crusader

The Council directed Malin to fight it in the first place and they continued to direct him to contimue fighting it all the way through the appeal process.

Charger
Charger

The real question is how little can the city settle his termination suit for on the basis of complete incompetence? Certainly he and the Times can see the good intentions behind dropping him because his actions have only cost the city and it's taxpayers more than he is worth.

PainfullTruth
PainfullTruth

Once again Malin has showed his incompetence. How the editorial board came up with the line "City Administrator Craig Malin’s well-intentioned but botched crackdown on the Chorus Line". How was Malin's attack on The Chorus Line "well intentioned". He had a vendetta against the business since day one, period. He knew the laws, but he didn't care. Now he caused the city to pay the price.

Another think is that the $270,000 is only a partial of what Malin caused. They forgot to include all the legal fees that the city had to pay, which is over $80,000.

This is what you get when you have a weak city council and strong city manager setup like Davenport does. Change the form of government that you use and you "might" see some changes. Then again you have ignorant people voting the members of the city council each election....

sundance
sundance

You are wrong about the Davenport form of government. Davenport has a strong city council form of government and no city manager. Malin is the city administrator, not a city manager. There is a difference. Malin takes direction from the council. He also takes advice from the city legal department, which in this situation, seems to have failed him.

PainfullTruth
PainfullTruth

@sundance,

My mistake, you are correct. What I meant to say is that the mayor has very little control of the situation.

Did the city council make the move to block The Chorus Line from operating or was that the decision of Malin himself? From all the stories that I read, the city council had no part in this.

Correct me if I am wrong.

snowman05
snowman05

I like when you are a liberal and the Times says your failures are good intentions.

credit island
credit island

Cool.

Aberline
Aberline

If Malin took it upon himself to make these decisions, perhaps HE should pay, not the taxpayers. Just sayin' ...

concernedmomof2
concernedmomof2

Malin has cost this city a lot of money. When is the city going to realize that and get him out of here..... So, I may be assuming correctly then that the money that is going to pay the owner is directly from taxpayers???? Is there a way to stop that? We the taxpayers weren't over zealous like Malin and I don't think we should be responsible for paying the owner.

snowman05
snowman05

When he over spends and we cut police force and can't man all the fire stations, he is over zealous too?

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