Swingers club apparently back in city
KC Playroom, a swingers club that stopped holding its private parties in a Shawnee industrial building last month, apparently has returned under “new ownership.” And Mayor Jeff Meyers, for one, said the news “disgusts me.”
“We have some great friends who are taking over the KC Playroom so you all can still have a place to party,” the club recently reported on an Internet site it has used to promote previous parties.
The site also announced that a “Fishnet and Heels” party would be held last Saturday night at the club, which it described as being “in the Johnson County area, very close to I-35 and I-435 with hotels two miles from the club.”
The exact location was not provided. But on Saturday night, cars were parked outside the building at 7007 Martindale Road, where previous KC Playroom parties were hosted, and an outdoor smoking area similar to those set up for the previous gatherings was visible.
“I thought that was over with,” Meyers said after learning KC Playroom might be resuming parties at the site, which is within a couple of blocks of a Montessori preschool and several residences.
Meyers added that he had been informed the activities that took place at previous KC Playroom parties went “way beyond dancing.”
“I just don’t know how that could be considered legal myself,” Meyers said. “That’s why there’s been an awful lot of people looking at it.”
The club, referred to as a “sex club” in an email City Manager Carol Gonzales sent to members of the Shawnee City Council in July, has been under investigation by the city for more than a year.
Gonzales said in the July email that following “investigative and legal research,” the city concluded “it is a private use of a privately owned building, therefore subject to building and fire codes, but not other regulations applicable to businesses.”
Three months later, a resident using the name “Bob Smith” emailed city officials to complain that “nothing has been done to have this business licensed and permitted.”
“Mr. Smith, actually quite a bit has been done,” Gonzales responded in an Oct. 24 email. “Other agencies have already been brought in and are also looking into issues that fall within their purview.”
Gonzales added in the email that city officials had been told KC Playroom would close at the end of the year.
Following subsequent media reports about the club by The Dispatch and KCTV5 News, the area business owner who was operating KC Playroom said he would close it immediately. In addition, the Martindale Road space was listed for lease on Craigslist, seeming to indicate that the club would no longer be an issue in Shawnee.
Now that it appears to be back, Ward 4 Councilman Mickey Sandifer said, “I do not like it at all. And I will check into this.”
According to Sandifer, whose ward includes the Martindale Road industrial area, the building in question is owned by the family of one of his friends, Steve VanLerberg.
“They told me that a real estate management company (is) handling the buildings and just sends them checks,” Sandifer said.
Shawnee’s other Ward 4 council representative, Michelle Distler, said she doesn’t understand why the club has been allowed to operate in Shawnee without paying taxes or obtaining a business license.
“From the information I have, it does not sound like it is operating as a (nonprofit) private club,” Distler wrote in an email. “The ‘Short Skirt, No Panties’ event in June brought in almost $5,000 for the club. KC Playroom is in a commercial business park zoned industrial and charges $40 per couple and $20 per single female. With more than two dozen events held a year, some quick calculations would seem to indicate this is a very profitable business. How can the city say it is not a business at all?”