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Thursday, August 13, 2015

From a Reader: More on the double life of a PTA Mom

Mrs. Christina Whipple, Hamburg Central Schools PTA Mom- a piano and violin player too?    

Where are the Hamburg Morality Police? 

Strip club owner professes legitimacy Though FBI Shut Her Down for Alleged Drugs and Prostitution

Christina Whipple was just getting ready to wake up her two kids for school when her telephone rang early on the morning of March 2.

It was Hamburg police, asking if she could give them a key so they could enter her business, located about 10 minutes away.

She gave the key to two cops who came to her door, woke up her husband, Mark, and told him to take care of the kids. Then she got into her BMW sedan and drove to her business, the 24KT Gold strip club, which the FBI and other police agencies were searching for drugs.

“I was shocked,” Whipple recalled last week. “We’ve tried very hard to keep drugs out of the club.”

Meet Christina Whipple, 38, a mother, PTA vice president, soccer coach, volunteer Meals-on-Wheels driver—and also the owner of two strip clubs.

One of her clubs, Mademoiselle, near the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, is still open.

But 24KT Gold, on Route 5 in Hamburg, was shut down by Whipple on June 15 because it lost its liquor license in the wake of the FBI investigation.

She invited The Buffalo News to her club and her immaculate Hamburg home, and in a lengthy interview, insisted that she firmly opposes drugs and prostitution, two of the activities the FBI says went on inside 24KT Gold.

“My husband and I don’t use drugs, we don’t condone our employees using them. We don’t condone prostitution, either,” Whipple said. “And no, I have never danced in our club or any other.

“I am the club’s owner, and mainly, its bookkeeper. My husband is the manager.”

Whipple said she bought her two strip clubs last November. She insisted she runs a legitimate business that employed about 50 people, mostly part-timers, in Hamburg before the FBI raid, and is subject to frequent scrutiny from government agencies.

“What is immoral about it?” she said. “I’m a mom, and I help other moms with jobs that enable them to support their children. A lot of our dancers are single moms, or college students. Some dancers have gone on to work as lawyers, nurses, even in law enforcement . . . I don’t see anything wrong with what we do.”

The interview was the first public comment from either of the Whipples since the police raids at 24KT Gold on Route 5, and Rick’s Tally-Ho, a Cheektowaga club that has no connection to the Whipples.

Police and federal agents raided both establishments following a probe into drug trafficking and prostitution allegations involving dancers and patrons at the clubs. Both have lost their liquor licenses as a result.

Investigators from the Safe Streets Task Force arrested 27 people, including seven dancers and a manager of Rick’s Tally-Ho, and a disc jockey who had worked at both clubs.

Police learned that Rick’s Tally-Ho and 24KT Gold were frequented by drug dealers who sold cocaine in the establishments, according to a state police investigator. He also alleged that both clubs had “private rooms” where customers could pay dancers for sexual favors.

The State Liquor Authority last week canceled the liquor license of 24KT Gold, and Whipple agreed to pay a $30,000 fine. The agreement allows her to apply for a new liquor license. It also allows her to keep the liquor license at the other establishment she owns, Mademoiselle.

The Whipples were never accused or even mentioned in the 184-page federal indictment that led to the 27 arrests, and they had no knowledge of drug-dealing or prostitution at 24KT Gold, said their attorney, David B. Smith.

“The only person charged in the whole case who ever worked at 24KT Gold was a deejay,” Smith said.

The SLA alleged that Mark Whipple was aware of some of the criminal activity, but his wife and lawyer vehemently deny that allegation.

So why did Christina Whipple make what amounts to a plea bargain with the SLA, rather than demand a full hearing?

“If it was up to Christina, she would have wanted to continue fighting for years,” Smith said.

“But the legal fees would have been much higher, and if the SLA wound up revoking her license, rather than canceling it, she would have lost the license at Mademoiselle, too. She evaluated the risks and made a business decision to make a deal with the SLA.”

Even if Whipple had no idea that drug-dealing and prostitution were going on in her club, as the liquor license holder, she had a responsibility to know, and to prevent such activities, said Bill Crowley, a spokesman for the liquor authority.

“The conditions that were found in the FBI investigation, and our investigation, were intolerable,” he said. “If [Whipple] had no involvement in the wrongdoing, she could have asked for a full hearing and presented all the evidence to show she was not involved. She chose not to do that. The authority is pleased that she is no longer a licensee.”

Whipple said she accepts the fact that, as the licensee, she was ultimately responsible. She said she posted signs warning of the club’s “zero tolerance” drug policy and installed surveillance cameras in every room, including the “VIP Room” where private dancers perform.

Whipple, who plays the violin and piano, said the publicity over the case has been “very stressful.” But she said people who know her in Hamburg have been supportive.

She said she is especially proud of the volunteer work she does as a vice president of the Hamburg Schools Parent Teacher Association and other organizations.

As one of seven vice presidents in the Hamburg PTA, Whipple is responsible for activities at the Union Pleasant Elementary School, where her children — Julia, 11, and Jack, 7 — are students.

“Christina is very involved and very helpful,” said Jennifer Hubert, one of the other PTA vice presidents. “She has one of the biggest elementary schools, and personally, I think she’s great.”

Betty Newell, president of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, was asked if the business group considers 24KT Gold to be an asset or a detriment to the community.

“That’s a touchy issue,” Newell said, noting that the strip club did provide some jobs but was also a business that bothered some people.

“Adult entertainment is a fact of life,” Newell said. “[The closing] is unfortunate for people who worked there, but . . . it’s not my cup of tea.”

Whipple said she will reopen the club if she gets another liquor license. After the SLA suspended the license in late March, she tried keeping the club open with dancers and soft drinks, but it was not making money.

Whipple said she bought her two strip clubs last November from Michael and Irena Rudan, who run the popular Sundowner club in Niagara Falls, Ont. She declined to name the purchase price.

“They still own the properties and the buildings, and I bought the businesses,” Whipple said.

“Not the best timing,” said Smith, noting that the FBI crackdown — which mostly involved activity that took place before Whipple’s purchase — came four months after she bought it.

Whipple, former manager of a dental office, said she bought the clubs because her husband was a longtime manager of the two clubs and was familiar with the businesses. She said her stepmother, Nancy Trysnicky, was a longtime bartender at 24KT Gold.

How would Whipple react if, years from now, her daughter reached age 21 and announced that she wanted to become a strip club dancer?

Whipple hesitated a moment before answering.

“I would ask her, ‘Are there better choices you could make?’ ” Whipple said. “But if that is what she chose as a career, I would accept it and support her.” 

Buffalo News March 2010


Anonymous said...

There was no need to include the childrens names and ages in this.

Ben said...

Dear August 14,

This article is directly from the Buffalo News. There are several articles about Mrs. Whipple and her business and her husband also who was caught buying cocaine from a dealer in one of their "gentlemens" Clubs. Concerned Hamburg did not author this. It was in the News in March 2010. Since their clubs have been under scrutiny, and they can't get a liquor license so PTA mom puts everything in her members of her family name. I have been disgusted by this for years, so don't shoot the messenger, this is a real thing. Do you want these kinds of people in our schools, around our kids. They pose a real morality threat to children. Really, I bet you are trying to blame the writer of this blog for the facts about this woman? Go to the Buffalo News and have a look around yourself. This blog only is repeating what is already widely known. So what does the Hamburg School Board say about that. What if all the kids in the schools knew about this. What if a petition was circulated in school to removed Mrs. Whipple, teachers could pass them around during class periods, teachers can talk about it in front of their students. Here is a question kids : Do you think that these kinds of clubs should be legal? Do you want one in your community. Wasn't there a similar issue in EDEN with a dirty magazine shop across from their schools? So, whats wrong 1:08 pm. Heck you know she had kids other wise she wouldn't be and executive leader on the PTA> Right? Go to the Buffalo News seach the topic, you can see for yourself. What do you have to say about that? Is it OK to have this person around kids? She is a very bad role model, don't you think? Lots of people have been saying it for years. But, I guess its better to attack imaginary enemies like the Stephensons right? Hamburg- the town where the truth doesn't matter. Right?

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is obvious that she has children, or else she wouldn't be on the PTA. But, it is also obvious that she cares about her children's education, or else she wouldn't be on the PTA. And, it is obvious that she cares about all children because she is one of the leaders of the PTA. I'm sure there are plenty of other mothers out there who do not own a strip club who could have taken a leadership position in the PTA, but they didn't. Ms. Whipple did. No matter what her employment is, she is trying to do something good for the children of the Hamburg Schools by getting involved, when many, many other parents don't. If you don't approve of her being on the PTA, that's fine, but there's really nothing you can do about it. She is a parent in the district and she has a right to be involved in her children's education. Unless you are proposing thorough background checks into every person on the PTA, school board, teacher, coach, employee of the school district, and their spouses- then you need to give this argument a rest. Or run for Ms. Whipple's position on the PTA yourself.

Ben said...

10:55- has the strip club owner had her fingerprints done to work in schools? Having an interest in the kids education- that's a load of shit. She is creating a double image- you know a deception. This is the kind of person who would teach kids to lie- you know like a psychopath. Really, you think she cares about education. She is probably just keeping the pipe line of dancers going from HHS to route 5. Ask PTA how many Hamburg girls have danced their way across their education- and how many end up with no self respect and addicted? How's that for a Heath advisory question? Just sayin

Anonymous said...

If you don't like her as PTA President then step up and shut up. This issue is very old news. Mrs. Whipple has done a great job on the PTA. The strip club and school business does not cross lines. She is a very genuine woman, maybe you should get to know her and bring these conversations up to her yourself instead of in a blog. So many big mouths and so little volunteers in this world.

Ralph Malph said...

Old News- Last time I drove down Rt. 5- the DOMs were going in to her joint and getting some relief. Cmon- maybe she should stop lying and using kids to fight Dan Chiacchias battle. I heard she doenst like to be stared at? Can you imagine a former striper not liking a staring gaze? The lady is messed up. Guess she got you fooled. Righty Oh then. A Striper PTA MOM is better than no PTA MOM at all. Gotcha 7:47! Why don't you go check out the girls that are exploited by her and her husband, so they can well never mind. You are showing you lack of character 7:47 am. Think of those poor girls who are groped by filthy old men who only care about a cold bud and a blow job! Wake up!

Anonymous said...

oh look - it's the same person who can't spell stripper correctly posting again...

Anonymous said...

OK number 1 Mrs.Christina Whipple was never ever in her life a stripper, Number 2 Her husband Mark does most of the worm with the club, she is a realtor

Anonymous said...