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Idaho State Police Settles Suit Following Burlesque Sting, Will Pay Lost Revenue, Fees to New Meadows Restaurant

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RYAN JOHNSON
  • Ryan Johnson
Idaho State Police will have to reimburse a New Meadows restaurant for lost revenue, fees and legal expenses after authorities suspended its liquor license for serving alcohol during a dinnertime burlesque show in August 2015.

According to police records, The Intersection was hit with a complaint from ISP in November 2015, followed by a negotiated 15-day shutdown of the bar and grill in March 2016. Owners of The Intersection filed a lawsuit in district court earlier this year and, as part of a settlement, ISP will also have to refund a $5,000 penalty fee paid by the restaurant and cover attorney fees.

All in, ISP will end up paying $17,000 to The Intersection.

"We are pleased with the result, and glad to see this civil rights violation corrected," said Boise-based attorney Deborah Ferguson, who represented The Intersection and confirmed the settlement Wednesday afternoon. "The lawsuit was brought to protect the First Amendment rights of [the owners] and their family business."
Shannon Fairchild and her husband have owned The Intersection since 2013. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Shannon Fairchild and her husband have owned The Intersection since 2013.

Earlier this year, Boise Weekly visited The Intersection, where co-owner Shannon Fairchild said she was dumbfounded when ISP fined the restaurant and insisted on a suspension of the liquor license following the burlesque show, which had been restricted to patrons 21 years of age and older.

"Nearly 80 people were there, nearly all of them couples: folks from the school board, my parents, my husband's parents and a number of tourists in the area for the summer," Fairchild said.

ISP detectives, who attended the show in civilian clothes, said the event put the restaurant in violation of Idaho Code, which prohibits the performance or presentation of "indecent" or "obscene" material to accompany the serving of alcohol.

"I've seen these before from Idaho State Police," said Ferguson. "It says your liquor license may be revoked or suspended and you have something like 20 days to answer."

That prompted Ferguson to file suit against ISP in U.S. District Court, declaring state police violated First Amendment protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. With the settlement, Ferguson said on Wednesday, ISP had made owners of The Intersection "whole again."


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