Wednesday, February 11, 2015

UPDATED, SEE CORRECTIONS and APOLOGY: Prince Hall Lodge Running a Strip Club In Maryland

From the Maryland Gazette.net today. The Charles Datcher Masonic Lodge #15 of Washington D.C. is a lodge chartered by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington DC, but I've never heard of a regular lodge that offers up strippers as a recruitment tool. Their private club even has a Facebook page. There is something very wrong with this picture. This is the kind of stuff that got the Jesters in trouble, and besmirches the fraternity. The MWPHGLofWDC needs to come down hard on these guys.


A private club in Forestville providing nightly strip dancing performances as a “recruitment tool” for freemasons has been denied a permit for adult entertainment.The Prince George’s County Council, which sits as the District Council on zoning issues, upheld the zoning examiner’s denial of a special exemption permit for adult entertainment to Bazz and Crue, during its Monday meeting.Dennis Whitley III, attorney for Bazz and Crue, described the site at 7752-7754 Marlboro Pike in Forestville as a private lounge for freemasons and potential freemasons of Charles Datcher Masonic Lodge #15 of Washington D.C.,; however, county zoning officials say the site hosts nightly nude dancing and lap dancing.Bazz and Crue owners could not be reached for comment.Whitley described the adult entertainment that goes on at the site as a “recruitment tool” to draw in potential freemasons.“I believe the idea is to go to where the gentlemen are,” Whitley told the council.Whitley described the dancers as “independent contractors” who make their money through tips.Whitley said potential members must apply to become freemasons and pay $240 yearly membership dues, with a $20 minimum down payment.“You can visit once, and if it is something you are interested in, you can go on to pay the full $240. If it’s something you’re not interested in, you don’t have to pay the rest,” Whitley said.Whitley said membership is not automatic, but that individuals must demonstrate they are of “moral character” in their applications.“What is the nature of the moral character you have to demonstrate?” said Council Chairman Mel Franklin (D-Dist. 9) of Upper Marlboro.Whitley said he could not speak to the specific requirements.Whitley characterized the adult entertainment as one of many events that go on at the private club, saying it is also used for masonic rituals, gatherings and classes, and where adult entertainment also occurs.“They offer adult entertainment, but it is still a private club,” Whitley said. “If they offered opera, it would not make it an opera house.”Permits filed with the county when Bazz & Crue opened in 2001 describe it as a private lounge for members of Charles Datcher Masonic Lodge #15 of Washington D.C.The permits stated the site would be used for classes, gatherings, as a rest area for elderly members and other events, but did not mention adult entertainment.“It seems to me there was a misrepresentation as to what was going on at the club,” said Councilwoman Deni Taveras (D-Dist. 3) of Hyattsville. 
Douglas Edwards of Capitol Heights, president of the Coalition of Civic Associations of Central Prince George’s County, said he is also a freemason and has never heard of the recruitment tactics used by the club.
“I’m a 32nd degree mason, and when I heard about the $20 fee, I thought, masons are not recruited. They come of their own free will,” Edwards said.Edwards spoke out against the club being awarded an exemption.“We’re not going to enjoy having that in our community,” Edwards said.Zoning ordinances passed in 2009 prohibit adult entertainment in the area, but Whitley argued the club should be grandfathered in as a special exemption, as adult entertainment had been going on at the site since 2001.

H/T Bill Arnold

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UPDATE From the Prince George's County application to the zoning board Note the curious way the lodge is referred to in the application. I smell a rat:

Applicant’s Request

(7) The Applicant is seeking approval of S.E. 4717 to operate a Private Club with Adult Entertainment.  Members of a chapter of the Masons/Shriners located in Washington D.C. (the “Charles Datcher Lodge #15”, Free and Accepting Masons, Prince Hall) formed a separate nonprofit legal entity,  CD#15CL2001, Inc.,  to do various charitable deeds and to operate the instant Private Club for the members’ enjoyment. 
Applicant actually operates two Private Clubs – one at the subject property (d/b/a X4B) and one on Forestville Road in District Heights (d/b/a Bazz and Crue).[1]  Applicant has operated X4B since August 10, 2007, pursuant to a Use and Occupancy Permit that allows it to operate “a private club per 37380-2006”.  (Exhibit 7) 

(8) Applicant submitted copies of its Articles of Incorporation, tax records and Bylaws for inclusion in the record.  (Exhibits 12 pp. 41-47, 38, 42, 45, 50 and 51)  Applicant also submitted a “Programs & Services for X4B” flier explaining the Private Club’s interests and missions which include helping single mothers, providing drug prevention education, helping the homeless, and providing education to the adult entertainment industry workers.  (Exhibit 43)  Finally, a copy of the organization’s Trestleboard (similar to minutes) was provided.  (Exhibit 44)




[1] Bazz and Crue’s application for Adult Entertainment  -SE-4716-was denied by this Examiner.
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UPDATE
I received this note from the lodge on Facebook today, explaining the issue:


I read your article yesterday and think I even left a comment but long story short. The lodge has nothing to do with it. A member of the lodge who has been off the rolls for years owns the establishment. Pretty much he used a variation of the lodges name to obtain tax exempt status and during his failure to obtain a new permit tried to justify the purpose of his establishment. We are currently in the process of taking legal action to put a very strong end to this subject. Our lodge does not condone the use nor use this establishment as a recruiting tool.

In looking over the application for the zoning permit, printed above, you will see that it is made out by "Charles Datcher #15, Free and Accepting Masons, Prince Hall" which is no way I've ever heard of a PHA lodge referring to itself. So it appears that this whole incident has nothing to do with the very honorable Charles Darcher Lodge PHA, and I profusely apologize for the tempest in a teapot it caused. I am deeply sorry for the pain it caused to the brethren of the lodge, and for the upset it may have caused in the halls of the Grand Lodge. I was simply reporting what came over the news service, which can always be suspect. CLH

7 comments:

  1. Second Degree lessons on the Physical Senses?

    Jay

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  2. Don't believe everything you read, because this post isn't accurate. CDL#15 has nothing to do with this activity. This club is run by a member of the lodge who hasn't' been on the rolls in years.

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  3. That's good news, brother. But what is the lodge doing renting out its social hall to a strip club since 2001?

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  4. For young Masons,

    It is O'kay to have a private club for Freemasons but sexual integrity must be a 100% requirement for all mmembers and attendees of the club.

    No Mason should be a Porn Star, no Mason should run a Strip Club for Freemasons,and no Mason should be o'kay with being involved in inappropiate affairs.

    A Mason is to battle daily with all the seven deadly sins and LUST is one of them. Study your VSL for guidance on this issue, seek out those highly experienced Masons who can help you apply Masonic principles to your personal life, and seek professional licensed Counselors if you need them. Christian Masons can check out newlife.com for help. MORALITY is the essence of being a Mason. It can be very tough, but the best things in life are generally not very easy.

    As Masons, our thoughts, feelings, and actions toward Women not only help define who we are, but what we are. Good men and good Masons, I hope.

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  5. I have contacted the lodge and asked for an explanation, but no answer so far. I will take the story down if it turns out to be bogus and add an explanation if they provide one. But I have to tell you that Google and Yahoo's news alerts for Freemasonry sent me the story at 10 AM this morning, so I'm not the only one to see it. And three brethren contacted me about it as I was composing the post. I have no desire to besmirch the honor of these brethren, I'm only reporting what appeared all over the world this morning.

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  6. I just hope everything is settled in a just and timely manner. Long live the Craft!

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