City of Destin Officials Pay ‘Big Bucks’ to Keep Strip Club Out

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Destin City Council Members ended an six year legal battle Monday night, voting unanimously to pay off an Atlanta company to drop plans for a strip club off Airport Road.

The city is paying Trident Operations $1.75 million to settle the case, and another $400,000 for the property they planned to use for the club.

City leaders say this was the best solution for the city.

"The DNA of our city is family, and this is a major move that our city council has done to ever enshrine the city of Destin, and protect us for this thing to come into our city again with alcohol,” said Destin Mayor Mel Ponder.

The City of Destin has over $5 million in their reserve funds, but now this settlement will take out over $2.1 million.

A lot of City officials and residents say it is a bittersweet resolution.

"I think it is a lot of money. I think it kind of hurts,” said resident Patrice Terjak. “Thankfully we got it in a fund that they can pull out. I have heard numerous residents say what can we do, for a fundraiser. We can't come up with that kind of money, but to show our city council, who I am so proud of that we thank them."

The deal avoids a court challenge to Destin’s City ordinance, which prohibits strip clubs that serve alcohol.

Many feared the city would lose the first amendment case.

City officials say they're not trying to turn down businesses, they're just trying to regulate them.

"Why I believe it is such a great investment in our future is, are they allowed to come in, sure, but can they come and serve alcohol no, that is what we have protected our city from,” said Mayor Ponder.

The city will pay Trident in full by the end of this month.