FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - A Fort Wayne strip club owner is suing the city after he was denied occupancy.
Dino Zurzolo, who owns Shangri La West, bought the former Rabbit's Gentlemen Club, 1407 S Calhoun St, after it closed in 2016.
"The property itself has always been a strip bar ever since I was a baby," Zurzolo told FOX 55. "It's been a strip bar since 1976. Why would we have to apply to let them know it's going to be a strip club? It's already a strip club!"
Zurzolo said his occupancy was denied because the city considers the property abandoned since it's been closed for more than a year.
He said he feels he should be grandfathered in because Club 44, on Coldwater Road, was allowed to reopen last year.
"The difference between us and Club 44 is we opened, or tried to open up, four months earlier than what Club 44 opened up," Zurzolo said.
The lawsuit filed in federal court claims the city is violating Zurzulo's freedom of speech and equal protection.
He said he should be able to open because he did the renovations the city asked him to make.
The dollar amounts were over $270,000 just in the infrastructure. These are things they wanted," said Zurzulo.
A city spokesman said it doesn't comment on pending litigation, but the spokesman believes this will hold up in court.
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