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Feds & State Raid Orlando Gay Club


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Feds & State Raid Orlando Gay Club

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: August 29, 2005 7:00 pm ET

(Orlando, Florida) A combined federal and state task force raided Parliament House, one of the largest gay entertainment complexes in Florida, arresting all 12 bar employees early Monday morning.

A state official said that they were acting on a tip that the club was serving alcohol to minors. Investigators say they used minors to test the club's system of putting identifying bracelets on underage patrons. When the "plants" were served alcohol the joint task force made up of state police and agents with the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms moved in, shutting down the bar.

Officials say that nine bartenders and three servers - the entire staff on duty - was arrested.

Witnesses said that one one employee resisted arrest and was pepper sprayed. He was taken to hospital complaining of chest pains.

Patrons say that Parliament House is generally very careful not to serve underage customers.

Parliament House is an Orlando gay fixture and has been around for more than 30 years. It has frequently been used as a venue for events associated with Gay Days at Disney World and has been a target of anti-gay groups. Officials did not say who tipped them off about underage drinking.

Question about the raid have been raised including the use of federal agents and the large number of officers involved in the raid.

Officials say they are still in the process of determining what charges will be laid against the workers and the club. If convicted Parliament House could lose its liquor license.

The complex's hotel remained open Monday although the bar was closed. A spokesperson for Parliament House did not immediately return calls for an interview.

©365Gay.com 2005


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