A South Salt Lake nude-modeling business remained open Monday after a hearing in connection with its lawsuit against the city was continued for a week. Silhouette Studio had been ordered to shut down by Monday for violations of its business license.
The studio's owner, Norman Chess, filed suit against the city of South Salt Lake in 3rd District Court on Sept. 10 seeking to overturn the city's Sept. 6 decision to revoke the sexually oriented business' license to operate.A hearing on Chess's appeal, scheduled for Monday, was continued to Oct. 1. In the meantime, South Salt Lake officials and the business owners are working on a compromise, said Chess's wife, Lynn Chess. She also said that she and her husband plan to close the business but declined to elaborate.
South Salt Lake attorney Clint Balmforth confirmed Tuesday that a possible resolution was being discussed and could be accomplished by Wednesday.
Silhouette Studio, located at 3149 S. State, has been under fire since last year for alleged violations of its business-license provisions. Under South Salt Lake city ordinance, customers may disrobe while watching unclad women dance and model lingerie. Customers and employees must be separated by a barrier and may not touch each other.
On Sept. 6, the city's business license revocation board found that on three occasions the business had failed to provide the required barriers and found that Norman and Lynn Chess had encouraged female employees to commit illegal acts. On those findings, the board revoked Silhouette's business license.
The board didn't sustain police allegations that a barrier wasn't in place on another occasion or that an employee had illegally touched an undercover police officer.
"Frankly, that hurt," Balmforth said a few days after the revocation hearing. "That means (the board) just didn't buy the officer's testimony."
Balmforth said criminal charges against four Silhouette employees are still pending.
Besides seeking to overturn the license revocation board's decision, the suit also seeks to test the constitutionality of the city's Sexually Oriented Business law as it was written at the time the incidents that prompted the revocation are alleged to have occurred.
Attorney Andrew McCullough, who represents Norman Chess, said he based that section of the complaint on the U.S. Supreme Court's January decision to declare unconstitutional a Dallas, Texas, sexually oriented business law - the model for South Salt Lake's ordinance.
Balmforth, however, said that the Supreme Court decision focused on a small portion of the law dealing with time frames for city inspection of such businesses. South Salt Lake's law has been amended to conform with the high court's findings, he said.