A federal judge is making it rain at one Midtown strip club by awarding more than $10 million to dancers.
In a ruling issued Friday, Manhattan Federal Court Judge Paul Engelmayer found that the dozens of dancers at Rick’s Cabaret had been stripped of cash they should have been allowed to pocket — and ordered the club to pay up.
A group of entertainers from the Midtown mammary mecca had filed a class-action lawsuit against the club in 2009, charging they were employees who the club should have been paying minimum wage.
The suit said that not only had the club not been paying them, it had been charging them to work there – forcing them to turn over $60 per shift.
It also collected $2 of every $20 “Dance Dollar” customers bought with their credit cards to tip the temptresses — money they believed was going directly to the dancers, the suit said.
The W. 33rd St. club had argued the salary should be offset by the dancers’ “performance fees,” which included the $20 “for each personal dance — i.e. a lap dance or table dance” or time “in one of the club’s semi-private rooms,” which cost $100 for 15 minutes, $200 for 30 minutes, or $400 an hour.
Engelmayer didn’t buy that argument, noting that was cash paid to the dancers directly from the customers, and because the club would also collect a separate service fee for the rooms.
In his 51-page ruling, he took aim at the club’s “Dance Dollar” policies.
If the customer paid cash to the dancers, he noted, the dancers would get to keep 100% of the money, but if they paid by credit card and bought “Dance Dollars” for the tips, the club would keep $2 of ever $20, in addition to charging the customers a $4 fee.
In his ruling, the judge said that was misleading, because customers would think the dancers were getting the full $20.
A “reasonable customer would have understood the performance fees which customers paid dancers as gratuities belonging to particular dancers, not as service charges belonging to the club,” he found.
He ordered the club to pay $10.8 million in damages for minimum wage violations and improperly retaining tips — and the club could be on the hook for millions more at trial, which is where the dancers’ complaints about paying $60 a shift will be aired.
The club maintains the dancers weren’t required to pay the cash.
It’s unclear how many dancers will split the judgment — about 50 dancers are plaintiffs in the case, but 1,900 entertainers worked at the club between 2005 and 2012, the years covered by the complaint.
Lawyers for the dancers did immediately return calls for comment.
In a statement, a rep for Rick’s parent company, RCI Hospitality, said it was “disappointed” with the “flawed” decision and planned to appeal once the entire case is over.
The statement also said “there is no current or near term obligation to pay any sums as a result of this decision” since the case is ongoing.
Rick’s has said it’s appealing an earlier ruling by the judge that found the dancers were employees and not independent contractors.
“When you become truly grateful for all the blessings sent your way, you will have little time to either mourn or complain.”
The show’s final broadcast will air on Dec. 19.
Billboard has learned that BET mainstay “106 & Park” will be moving online. Its last show will air on Dec. 19. Currently hosted by Bow Wow and Keshia Chante, “106 & Park” will be winding up a 14-year broadcast stint at BET. Details concerning the hosts and the show’s digital debut will be announced later.
Here’s an official statement from BET:
“America’s #1 music variety show on cable television, “106 & PARK,” will host its final daily on-air show on December 19, 2014, concluding its impressive 14 year run. The “106 & PARK” brand remains strong and will continue to produce various specials throughout the year including its annual New Year’s Eve show, “106 & PARTY,” along with live event experiences at the BET Awards and BET Experience. In 2015, “106 & PARK” looks forward to continuing its reign as the hottest hangout on one of the coolest digital platforms, BET.com.”
Carlos Santana‘s just-published memoir The Universal Tone (Nov. 4; Little, Brown and Company) may be subtitled Bringing My Story to Light, but it’s hardly light reading. Besides detailed memories of his upbringing and musical achievements, the 544-page book also dives unapologetically deep into the guitar legend’s philosophies and spirituality. Santana, 67, has learned countless life lessons, he says — including these five, in his words.
There’s Santana, and there’s Carlos.
“I don’t want to be attached to this figure thing called Santana. I like Carlos. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the performer and the person. I want to be like Harry Belafonte or Wayne Shorter or [John] Coltrane and be a person who is nice to be around.”
Negativity? No thanks.
“I take special joy in dismantling cynical people. Cynical people are like cement — nothing grows in there. We have the capacity to make the correct choices every day, so every day can be the best day of your life, no matter what.”
Forgetfulness has its benefits.
“I’ve learned that I need to constantly forgive myself, forget my story and live my life. I have celestial amnesia. I remember only the good stuff. The bad stuff? Not that I’m in denial; I just don’t want to be that full time. Like a dog shakes off water, I shake it off and move on.”
Let your instrument do the talking.
“John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Tito Puente, Miles [Davis] — all of these people are part of my heart. They taught me to tell stories when you take a solo, not just play a bunch of clever, cute, thought-out notes. Where are you going? What are you trying to say?”
Change is a good thing.
“I’m ready to, like a snake, leave my skin and grow a new skin. My wife [drummer Cindy Blackman Santana] and I will take the next year and create new music. She’s going to join my band full-on and put her hands on the wheel with me to architect a new path. It’s time to commit career suicide again and go more Sun Ra, more Sonny Sharrock, and take the hamster out of the cage.”
This article first appeard in the Nov. 22 issue of Billboard.
Formerly tipping the scales at 360 pounds and now down to a svelt 200, Glaud’s transformation is impressive. And while he’s proud of how far he’s come, he still harbors insecurities about his weight loss, which is not uncommon among those who have shed a significant amount of weight. Specifically, he says, he’s feels awkward about the pounds of loose skin hanging all over his body — remnants of his larger days.
“I’m comfortable clothed. I’m not that comfortable unclothed,” he said in a Nov. 8 video for his “Obese To Beast” YouTube channel.
As the camera rolls, Glaud strips down, revealing bunches of skin under his arms, over his stomach and on the insides of his thighs.
Although he’s self-conscious about it, loose skin is typical of dramatic weight loss like his.
In a New York Magazine piece titled “What No One Tells You About Losing Lots Of Weight,” author Alexandria Symonds sums up the feeling of dissatisfaction that may sometimes accompany a life-altering weight shift:
The experience of significant weight loss is much more psychologically complex than the multi-billion-dollar diet industry, with its beaming “after” photos and promises of a new life, acknowledges. After all that work, it can be a disappointing blow to discover that bodies that have lost 50-plus pounds simply don’t look like bodies that have maintained a steady weight since reaching adulthood.
Despite Glaud’s own insecurities, he still looks on his weight loss as a positive change.
“I wanted to have a perfect body, but that’s not the case. And that’s okay,” he concludes. “Loose skin and all, I’m happy with where I’ve come from and where I am at now.”
In conjunction with Jagged Edge’s cover of AMN Magazine and the release of their CD #JEHeartbreakII,
AMN hosted a contest allowing (3) lucky winners to WIN the new album and the grand prize winner won the copy of AMN (with JE on the cover) and the NEW CD. The winners were:
Aleasea Huff-Palmer (Fort Worth, Texas)
Grand Prize winner, Marlon Reid (Philly) *not pictured