COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Lawyer David Goldstein represents six former employees of Kahoots, a now-closed Northwest Columbus strip club, who have filed a federal lawsuit against two Columbus Police officers who were members of the now defunct vice unit.
Kahoots was located at Kenny and Henderson.
Goldstein says officers Whitney Lancaster and Steven Rosser began targeting Kahoots’ owners after they fired a bouncer in the fall of 2017.
The lawsuit alleges Rosser demanded Kahoots re-hire that former bouncer, fire another employee and put that bouncer in his place.
Goldstein says when that didn’t happen, the 2 officers retaliated.
“All of a sudden these women are being charged and obviously you’re going to lose patrons when police are charging women for conduct that is not illegal,” he said.
Goldstein says Rosser and Lancaster charged all six women for violating the city’s no touching law.
That’s the same law the vice unit cited when it arrested Stormy Daniels in the summer of 2018. Charges against Daniels were dropped; they were also dropped against the six women.
Goldstein says all of them were familiar with Lancaster and Rosser because they were often at the club.
“Specifically they would go in to Kahoots, buy drinks, buy lap dances with city money and then they would charge these women,” said Goldstein.
He also says Lancaster and Rosser were advised the no touching law was problematic.
Goldstein alleges they went ahead with the charges anyway just to give Kahoots owners and employees a hard time.
He says that includes business recommendations Rosser began making for owners of Kahoots yet nowhere else.
NBC4 obtained an email between Rosser and a Kahoots owner detailing those recommendations.
They included background checks on all employees, special ID scanners for all customers, surveillance cameras inside and outside Kahoots, including the private rooms for lap dances, and more.
A little too ‘hands on,’ according to Goldstein.
He says the business advice was well above and beyond coming from a police officer.
Lancaster and Rosser are on desk duty pending the completion of a separate federal investigation into the former cice unit’s personnel and procedure.
The city attorney’s office says they haven’t made a decision regarding legal representation for the men.