Chicago’s Admiral Theatre sues over SBA loan delay, alleges regs violate First Amendment

Chicago’s Admiral Theatre has filed suit against the Small Business Administration, alleging its First Amendment rights were violated when a ruling on its loan application was stalled by regulations that discriminate against adult businesses.

The suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court names the SBA and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin as defendants.

The lawsuit claims the SBA is taking too long to rule on the North Side strip club’s Paycheck Protection Program application, which provides forgivable loans to businesses which have fewer than 500 workers.

The delay is due to SBA regulations which prohibit funding for businesses that “present live performances of a prurient sexual nature,” the lawsuit states.

The “prurient” clause on the loan application form, which replicates Bill Clinton-era language designed to discriminate against sexually oriented businesses.

However, the suit continues: “All of the entertainment provided by the admiral is non-obscene (and thus cannot be deemed prurient),” the suit states. “No entertainer performing at the Admiral has even been charged with, let alone convicted of, the crime of obscenity.”

The Admiral Theatre provided a loan application to its bank on April 4, and the bank submitted the application to the SBA on April 15, the lawsuit states. The SBA hasn’t approved or denied the application as it is still determining the club’s eligibility.

As the Admiral waits for a ruling on its application, the lawsuit states, other adult clubs around the country have either had their applications approved or denied.

“In the event that Plaintiff is unable to obtain PPP loans, it may lack the staff and/or funds to reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the permanent ruination of its business, the inability of Plaintiff to engaged in protected First Amendment activity, and the inability of Plaintiff’s staff, entertainers, and customers to continue engaging in or viewing protected First Amendment activity,” the suit states.

The suit seeks to have the SBA’s adult business regulations declared unconstitutional and for the Admiral’s PPP application and others like it to be processed.

The Admiral Theatre is a legendary venue whose façade, XBIZ points out,  bears the Larry Flynt quote, “The greatest right a nation can afford its people is the right to be left alone.

h/t  Chicago Sun-Times / XBIZ

572590cookie-checkChicago’s Admiral Theatre sues over SBA loan delay, alleges regs violate First Amendment

Chicago’s Admiral Theatre sues over SBA loan delay, alleges regs violate First Amendment

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2 Responses

  1. So they don’t have enough money to pay their employees (and want a loan to cover it) but they can afford a lawyer to sue?

  2. Karma, attorneys take these cases on contingency, if the theatre is successful they would have to pay 30% of the loan to their attorney. Also, it is possible that an organization such as the ACLU took on the case based on constitutional grounds — in that case their lawsuit would be free to them.

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