WTOL investigates: Downtown Toledo strip club owner trying to make up for Chez Joey management

WTOL investigates: Downtown Toledo strip club owner trying to make up for Chez Joey management

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Over the past five years, a downtown Toledo building has hosted strip clubs under multiple names, with many problems. WTOL 11 investigated to get to the bottom of who owns the property and what they're doing to fix the problem.

In 2014, a man was murdered and police responded to many other serious crimes and complaints at what was then called Chez Joey on Monroe Street.

Chez Joey was formerly Marilyn's, then Polekatz. In March, it reopened as Scores. The business remained a strip club through each reincarnation.

In 2012, the building and the business, then Marilyn's, were purchased by Chicago businessman Tony Quaranta. Quaranta opened it as Polekatz, a nationally-franchised strip club.

Polekatz was open just shy of a year, with only a few calls to police. Quaranta says the business wasn't making enough money for his hassle, so he decided to rent the space out.

Quaranta leased the building to Ernie Hatmakers, who opened Chez Joey.

In the year and a half that Chez Joey was open, Toledo police documented 31 crimes at the location, including a murder, shooting, and drug trafficking.

Quaranta's attorney, Darrell Fawley, says his client kicked Hatmakers and Chez Joey out when he defaulted on the lease. Quaranta then decided to open Scores, another nationally-franchised gentlemen's club.

“My client is just about as happy to get rid of Chez Joey as the citizens of Toledo would be,” Fawley said. “And they have pledged not to operate it as Chez Joey did.”

The most recent problem for the business: Toledo City Council has recommended its liquor license be revoked due to its troubled past. Quaranta applied for the license to be transferred to his name in March.

“Honestly, Chez Joey conducted itself in such a matter that the city is upset,” Fawley said. “I think everyone understands that. What we want people to understand is the people now operating that location has no connection to Chez Joey.”

“It's the same location,” Councilwoman Lindsay Webb said. “The people that own the actual building transferred the liquor license back and forth, and in every instance, it was operating as a strip club. And in every instance, there were real calls for concern. And again, someone laid dead on the floor of that bar.”

Now a handful of local business owners are speaking in favor of Scores and its management, stating they never had problems with Polekatz, which was run by Quaranta.

Jim Mettler from the Cock n' Bull wrote in a letter that Polekatz was known as a clean, respectful business and a good neighbor. He says he considered it safe.

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