Booze back at Calendar Girls

SHANE COWLISHAW
Last updated 14:40 07/07/2014

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Wellington strip club Calendar Girls can begin selling alcohol again after its application for a liquor licence was approved.

The Dixon St club was opened in 2012 by Jacqui Le Prou, but was forced to defend itself in court after fellow strip club owners Michael and John Chow, as well as the police, opposed her application for a licence.

They objected to the involvement of Le Prou's husband James Samson, a convicted drug dealer.

A licence was later granted on condition Samson was barred from the venue.

Police, however, took the unusual step of appealing to the High Court against the granting of the licence.

The court stripped Calendar Girls of its ability to sell alcohol.

The club was placed into receivership, but remained open, selling only low-alcohol beer.

Last month receiver Murray Allott appeared before the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority to make his case for a liquor licence.

He said without the ability to sell alcohol the club would likely only fetch between $100,000 and $250,000, compared to a price of $2 million if it returned to profitability.

Police had initially opposed the application because of concerns Samson and Le Prou could become involved in the club again.

A company, BBT, which is 50 per cent owned by Samson and business colleague Stacey Giles, provided $1m to refurbish Calendar Girls Wellington and had hired Allot as receiver.

It was first in line to receive its money after any sale.

The Chow brothers had also opposed the application but also withdrew their objection.

In his decision, Judge James Weir said Samson, Giles and Le Prou had signed undertakings preventing their involvement in the operation and management of the club.

Allott had also signed an undertaking designed to ensure the trio could not be appointed as directors of the new company set up to run the club.

Weir said it was desirable the best available price could be reached for the sale of the business.

However, the police's concerns had been valid and because of the club's history a truncated licence valid between 10am to 3am, rather than 7am to 3am, would be issued.''...the police were correct in having very real concerns about the inter-relationship between Ms Le Prou, Mr Samson, and Mr Giles, and the companies referred to in this decision.

''It is only at the eleventh hour that those concerns have been alleviated by the undertakings given by the three parties and the evidence by Mr Allott."

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- The Dominion Post

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