Strip club’s ad no longer exposed

The owner of a gentlemen’s club where female entertainers dance and undress has had two signs advertising the business covered up at Elm Park by order of Mayor Gabriel J. Campana.

Fritz Jenkins, owner of Club Fred, who said he has advertised in this manner for 22 years, said Friday he is speaking with his attorney about the matter and considering a civil action.

“I don’t feel real good about how they handled it and I feel I am in the right,” Jenkins said, preparing a letter for the mayor and City Council.

“It was handled all wrong and very unprofessional.”

Jenkins said he was informed by Elm Park Softball Association, which leases and accepts the advertisement money, that he won’t be permitted to renew the agreement for advertising there.

“Those are annual agreements Elm Park has and he was told not to renew them,” said William E. Nichols Jr., city finance director.

“It’s the principle of the matter,” Jenkins said, adding that he received recent notice of a letter by the association that there’s an issue with the signs. His attorney wants to know what the issue is and said the matter arose “out of the blue.”

The signs depict silhouettes of women blowing a kiss in the air, he said, adding he’s advertised in numerous outlets, including across the street where the Williamsport Crosscutters play at Bowman Field.

Campana confirmed he spoke with Pennsylvania College of Technology administration about the signs.

The college contributes $100,000 annually to the city each year in lieu of real estate taxes and its women’s college softball team uses the field.

College administrator William Martin recently expressed to the city recreation commission how the signs offended some of the players.

“It was articulated that young women felt they were discriminated or insulted, and I felt it appropriate as the mayor, a former educator and father of four girls, to authorize covering up those signs,” Campana said.

When contacted Friday, Tom Cillo, general manager of the city’s Streets and Parks Department, said he was unaware of any issue with the sign and did not know his department had covered it.

Questions also were raised whether federal funds would be removed or the college could lose its Division III status for NCAA play should the signs remain uncovered, Campana said.

The covering will be taken down during the adult softball play, he said.