Judge orders Harem nightclub to close for 1 year

Published: Monday, October 30, 2017 @ 11:45 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 @ 10:21 AM

Hearing on closing The Harem continues

UPDATE @ 10:21 a.m. (Oct. 31)

The Harem has been ordered closed for 12 months after the judge granted a preliminary injunction. The local sheriff’s office will block off the parking lot.

EARLIER REPORT

An Ohio Investigative Unit enforcement agent detailed how he was propositioned by a dancer during an investigation of The Harem, according to testimony Monday during the resumption of an injunction hearing.

»RELATED: Agent describes sex, drug transactions at The Harem

The undercover agent said a dancer offered to go to a more private area and perform a specific sex act that other smaller girls didn’t want to do, according to the agent.

Buckeye Association of Club Executives (BACE) Ohio executive director Greg Flaig testifies during Monday’s continuation of a preliminary injunction hearing against The Harem. MARK GOKAVI/Staff(Staff Writer)

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office is asking Judge Dennis Adkins to grant an injunction declaring the business a public nuisance and closing it for a year after a 9-month investigation alleged several acts of drug sales and soliciting for prostitution.

»RELATED: The Harem shut down, 11 indicted on sex, drugs, food stamp charges

During cross-examination, defense attorney Michael Murray noted that most of the drugs and prostitution charges were against four women and that a couple of them were terminated during the January-September 2017 time frame of the investigation.

»RELATED: What we know now about 3 Harrison Twp. strip clubs raided in drugs, sex crimes investigation

Many of Murray’s questions to the agent were about whether he or the other undercover agent ever made The Harem’s management aware of the illegal activity.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

The prosecution rested just before 11 a.m. Monday. The defense called its first witness — Buckeye Association of Club Executives executive director Greg Flaig — at 11:20 a.m.

Over a defense objection, Adkins said he would give judicial notice to the criminal indictment against the club’s personnel. Adkins also denied a defense motion for a directed verdict in favor of the club.

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Heck’s office said criminal activity at the business at 5825 North Dixie Drive in Harrison Twp. between January and September 2017 included prostitution, drug trafficking and trading of food stamps for drugs or sex.

Prosecutors said undercover agents witnessed multiple liquor violations, prostitution, and felony drug trafficking, including marijuana, methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, carfentanil and Oxycodone.

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New trial date set for former jail captain’s trial

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 12:53 PM


            Judith Sealey
Judith Sealey

The former Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office captain charged with misdemeanor assault for pepper-spraying an inmate in a restraint chair had her trial pushed back until May 29.

A previously unscheduled hearing in Dayton Municipal Court was held Feb. 12 in which Judith Sealey’s trial was continued from March 22.

RELATED: Jail captain in pepper-spray cases medical retirement

Sealey, a sergeant in November 2015, is accused of pepper spraying Montgomery County Jail inmate Amber Swink, who was strapped in seven-point harness and who had already been sprayed once before that. The county settled a federal lawsuit with Swink and her attorney for $375,000.

Also, Judge Christopher Roberts recused himself from hearing the case which will prompt the appointing of a visiting judge. No visiting judge has been named, according to the docket.

RELATED: Former jail sergeant alleges cover-up of pepper-spray incident

Roberts wrote that he “maintains professional relationships with jail command staff and other deputies of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office,” according to court documents. “Due to the potential for conflict or claims of bias resulting from these relationships, recusal is necessary.”

Sealey did not appear in court in a December hearing, but defense attorney Anthony VanNoy and Cincinnati Prosecutor’s Office assistant Natalia Harris met with Roberts before that pretrial hearing.

RELATED: Complete timeline of pepper-spray incident at Montgomery County Jail

The case is being handled by the Cincinnati Prosecutor’s Office because Dayton City Prosecutor Stephanie Cook — a member of a Montgomery County Jail oversight committee — said it would be seen as a potential conflict of interest for her office to try the case.

Sealey, who took medical disability retirement, has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

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VanNoy did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Harris has said she would not comment about an open case.

A Montgomery County grand jury in 2017 declined to indict Sealey on felony charges and findings of a federal probe into this incident and other jail issues have not been announced.

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Video of the pepper-spraying came to light months after the incident when Swink’s attorney, Douglas Brannon, posted it on his website.

The video spurred the lawsuit, the ongoing federal probe, the misdemeanor criminal charge against Sealey, and contributed to calls for oversight of jail operations.

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You could lose your tax refund with this latest IRS scam

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 12:19 PM

Unsuspecting Taxpayers Pay Out More Than $660,000 To Fake IRS Agents

A sneaky new scam involving tax refunds is growing, and it means you need to keep a close eye on your bank account.

There are several variations of the scam: unexpected refund deposits to your bank account using compromised bank routing information, suspicious paper checks coming in the mail and, in one case reported in Maryland, it appeared a fraudulent refund check had been deposited using a smartphone. 

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According to the IRS, the victim will then receive a call or recorded message saying they need to return the funds to a collection agency-which is actually the scam account. 

If you pay the scammers, you will get a double whammy hit to your bank account when the IRS or your bank realize that the deposit was bogus and withdraws the funds.

The number of victims jumped from a few hundred to a few thousand in just days, after more tax practitioner data breaches, according to the IRS.

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The IRS has these recommendations to avoid getting scammed:

If you notice a suspicious deposit, contact your bank to have the money returned to the IRS and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. 

If you receive a paper check, write “void” in the endorsement field on the back and return it to the location printed on the check. 

If you mistakenly cashed the erroneous refund check, submit a check for the full amount to the IRS location near you. 
  • ANDOVER – Internal Revenue Service, 310 Lowell Street, Andover MA 01810
  • ATLANTA – Internal Revenue Service, 4800 Buford Highway, Chamblee GA 30341
  • AUSTIN – Internal Revenue Service, 3651 South Interregional Highway 35, Austin TX 78741
  • BRKHAVN – Internal Revenue Service, 5000 Corporate Ct., Holtsville NY 11742
  • CNCNATI – Internal Revenue Service, 201 West Rivercenter Blvd., Covington KY 41011
  • FRESNO – Internal Revenue Service, 5045 East Butler Avenue, Fresno CA 93727
  • KANS CY – Internal Revenue Service, 333 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City MO 64108-4302
  • MEMPHIS – Internal Revenue Service, 5333 Getwell Road, Memphis TN 38118
  • OGDEN – Internal Revenue Service, 1973 Rulon White Blvd., Ogden UT 84201
  • PHILA – Internal Revenue Service, 2970 Market St., Philadelphia PA 19104

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Police: Two charged following fight and lockdown at Middletown High School

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 11:49 AM


            Middletown High School was on lockdown Friday afternoon after an altercation in the school and students thought one boy may go home and get a gun.
Middletown High School was on lockdown Friday afternoon after an altercation in the school and students thought one boy may go home and get a gun.

Two Middletown High School students were charged with disorderly conduct after a disturbance Friday in the school that caused a lockdowns at multiple schools, Middletown police said.

After the fight, someone in the crowd yelled: “He’s probably going to get a gun,” according to Maj. Scott Reeve from the Middletown Division of Police.

RELATED: Lockdown lifted on Middletown schools

But police don’t believe anyone “threatened” to get a gun, Reeve said.

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The alleged comment was reported by students to school officials, who immediately informed police, causing a rush to the school. Police then closed down the school’s doors, keeping anyone from leaving or coming in, Reeve said.

Some school parents rushed to the school and were distraught in the Middletown High School parking lot because they could not enter the building to pick up their children.

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Police rarely called to Middletown bar where man was hit, later died

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 11:10 AM


            Middletown police have been called to the Old Crow Bar, 1217 Jackson Lane, three times this year, according to police records. RICK McCRABB/STAFF
Middletown police have been called to the Old Crow Bar, 1217 Jackson Lane, three times this year, according to police records. RICK McCRABB/STAFF

Middletown police rarely respond to call for service at a Middletown bar where a man was punched and later died Saturday, according to police reports.

Police have been called to Old Crow Bar, 1217 Jackson Lane, three times this year, for reports of a bad check, possible OVI arrest and for Saturday’s incident.

RELATED: Police: Middletown man died after being punched and falling off stage

John W. Fugate, 46, a musician who booked bands at the Old Crow Bar, died Saturday morning after an incident in the Middletown bar, according to Middletown police and friends.

Fugate allegedly was punched while he was standing on stage around 1 a.m. Saturday, said Maj. Scott Reeve from the Middletown Division of Police. Fugate fell backward off the stage and hit his head on the concrete floor, Reeve said. He was unconscious when police arrived at 1:18 a.m., Reeve said. Fugate was transported to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where he died Saturday, police said.

Reeve said police know who allegedly punched Fugate, but no charges have been filed. After the investigation is complete, the facts will be presented to the Butler County Grand Jury for consideration, Reeve said.

In 2017, police responded to the bar once for a possible drunk patron on Sept. 15, according to police reports.

Police were called to the bar four times in 2016 for reports of domestic dispute, drugs, public disturbance and breaking and entering.

Reeve said Old Crow has changed management a few times, and while it was “a problem at times,” it’s not causing a nuisance now.

Fugate’s autopsy was performed by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, but results have not been released, officials said.

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