Above the Fold: Prominent Pittsburgh Gay Owned Business Questioned by PG Investigators

UPDATE:  I'm deleting comments.  If you have an opinion, fine.  If you can prove wrongdoing, contact the MSM or email me privately.  Otherwise, stick with opinions not unsubstantiated accusations.  If you see something that needs deleted, email or call me — I'm trying to keep up with it.


Even though I had a call about this story last night, I have no idea what to say about this.  I really don't.  From above the fold on Page A-1 of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

A racy Strip District club at which a man died Sunday was threatened with closure by the city of Pittsburgh in August but it was allowed to continue to operate after its politically connected owners approached city officials.

Although Club Pittsburgh is zoned as a health and fitness center, the city initially ordered it to close because of other adult-related activities that didn't comply with its operating permit. The club's Web site has pictures of nude and partially clothed men in erotic poses and a complaint filed with the city claimed there was open sexual activity at the club.

Those owners, Peter Karlovich and Steven Herforth, hold political fundraisers at their Mount Washington home, including one for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in May 2007. When the Bureau of Building Inspection threatened to close the club, they appealed to Council President Doug Shields, and then to the mayor's Chief of Staff Yarone Zober, who connected them with city lawyers.

After talks with the club, the city lawyers told building inspectors to let it stay open pending discussions that never occurred.

Sadly, none of the owners or their representatives expressed regret over the fact that someone died on their property.  That's pretty tactless, especially when you are claiming people hate you for being rich (which is probably true).  Even one sentence expressing condolences to the family of Cleophus “Jaylin” Pettway for his death would have been classy. 

Ironically, this article demonstrates that the gay community has reached some level of equality.  The police raided the Stonewall Inn.  The Bureau of Building Inspection sent a letter to Club Pittsburgh.  Stonewall patrons and owners fought back using direct action.  Club Pittsburgh fought back by placing a call to the Mayor's Office and changing their website. 

They did exactly what any other heterosexual owned business would do when facing a threat to their business. They made a few calls and there was no need to take the streets to get BBI to back off. 

Sources tell me that there is some sort of “Save the Bathhouse” committee forming in an attempt to turn this into a gay civil rights issue. 

So, we have a lot of gay issues on your menu.

* a county ordinance to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression under siege by the right wing.  This ordinance is losing more sponsors and is being threatened to be stripped of the trans inclusive pieces.

* a statewide battle over Hate Crimes and Anti-Discrimination legislation

* the inevitable attempt to pass another Marriage Amendment in Pennsylvania

* federal battles over an inclusive ENDA, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and DOMA

* the need for a new home for the GLCC

* the Mayor's GLBT Advisory Council (too bad on that whole campaign contribution issue transparency, huh?)

* funding struggles for human service providers like Persad, PATF, Shepherd Wellness and more

* saving Pittsburgh's Bathhouse from zoning and ordinance inspections.

Sadly, the last item makes the front page of the Post-Gazette which has barely mentioned any of the other issues.  And they pretty much like gay people.  Sigh.  We get on the front page because of the implication that gay money is compromising the ethics of Mayor Ravenstahl.  I wonder where I've read that before?

I have no idea if the City looked the other way any more than they look the other way for heterosexual business owners.  Was this just an attempt to sensationalize the unfortunate death of Mr. Pettway?  Sex and ethics scandals sell papers, especially if they involve gay sex and Mayoral ethics.  They don't even have to be true.

I've never been to Club Pittsburgh so I have no idea what kind of business they run.  I only know the philanthropic side of Steve and Peter and have been a guest in their home one time.  If they bought off the Mayor, shame on them. 

Now do you see why I kept harping on the need for full-disclosure on the campaign contributions for anyone associated with the Mayor's GLBT Advisory Council?  I'm just gonna finish my coffee and know that my gut instincts and those of many commenters on this blog were right. 

I do have a pretty reliable source telling me that the digging isn't going to stop here.  I sincerely hope there's nothing more to find. 


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