In these bleak economic times, the Admiral Theater on the Northwest Side should be allowed a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program and not be disqualified for being erotic entertainment.
As the coronavirus pandemic destroys the US economy and unemployment skyrockets, we don’t need the Small Business Administration to be the sex police, protecting us from a legally operating strip club that gets a loan.
Really, if this is the only public policy we have to worry about these days, that would be a really good problem to have.
An SBA policy on how “funding lawful activities of a lascivious sexual nature is not in the public interest” is why the Admiral Theater, 3940 W. Lawrence Ave., cannot ‘now not getting a paycheck loan.
It is the paycheck protection program, not the prudential interest protection program.
As the admiral said in a federal lawsuit filed on Friday, what goes on in theater is “designed to appeal to a healthy interest in basic human sexuality.”
In this emergency, let’s deal with the workers first and save ourselves for another day arguments over strip clubs and the public interest.
Admiral has 42 employees, according to the loan application it submitted to the Belmont Bank & Trust Company, seeking a paycheck loan of $ 406,565. The theater has been closed since March 15.
Admiral Theater attorney Joseph Obenberger has taken legal action against SBA administrator Jovita Carranza – from Skokie – and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The lawsuit alleges that SBA regulations “unconstitutionally deny businesses and workers who participate in First Amendment protected speech from receiving benefits.”
You may have heard of the Admiral Theater. It was in the news two years ago when pornstar Stormy Daniels – who claimed to have had an affair with President Donald Trump – appeared there as part of her Make America Horny Again tour.
The Paycheck program is a bipartisan creation of Congress, which is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The program was designed to give small businesses and nonprofit employers financial lifelines as the economy collapses due to COVID-19 shutdown orders.
There is a dizzying demand for Paycheck loans, because if they are used as intended, to meet the payroll and pay some operating expenses, they do not have to be repaid.
Obenberger targets an SBA rule already in place for other loans and applied to Paycheck loan seekers: A business is not eligible for SBA funding if “it exhibits live or recorded performances of a lascivious sexual nature.” because the “SBA has determined that funding lawful activities of a lascivious sexual nature is not in the public interest.
“Lustful interest”, argues the admiral’s lawsuit, “means an appeal to a shameful or morbid interest rather than a normal or healthy interest in sex.”
At Admiral, according to the lawsuit, the dancers offer “healthy erotic” performances to its clients.
Admiral “is an establishment open to the consenting adult public, and both owns a restaurant and has been licensed by the City of Chicago, in which it is located, to operate a restaurant and a Gentlemen’s Club which provides non-obscene erotic activities. dance animation.
“All of the entertainment provided by the Admiral is not obscene (and therefore cannot be considered lascivious) and is designed to appeal to a healthy interest in core human sexuality.”
The loan money actually comes from the bank. Belmont will not do anything without a guarantee that the SBA will reimburse them.
The admiral’s candidacy is in limbo. The lawsuit said the bank asked the SBA to look into the issue of the admiral’s eligibility for the loan. Last week, the bank was still awaiting a decision.
The Admiral must resolve this issue immediately, as the Paycheck loan money will soon run out, struggling to get the loan moot.
With the economic crisis, the SBA should err on the side of giving workers a break and reserve the judgments on erotic performances for another day.
As of May 1, just in Illinois, the SBA approved $ 22.5 billion in loans for 159,628 Illinois employers, and more are underway.
The theater is located in the district of Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. The Illinois Democrat told me on Sunday, “I’m a big supporter of the First Amendment and free speech and association and so on. I think they are right.