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I-Team: Alleged Sex Club Sues Clark County | Business

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I-Team: Alleged Sex Club Sues Clark County
Business, Crime

LAS VEGAS -- The sound of the whip cracking across the bare skin was only muffled by the pulsing techno music coursing through the speakers. Low light hid the master walking around his subject. Another Saturday night in Las Vegas at Power Exchange.

The I-Team first exposed the inner workings of the adult sex club in April of 2009. Now a year later, the club's operator has been cited and a federal lawsuit against Clark County could make sex clubs more accessible than ever before.

Michael Powers runs the club and during the I-Team's first visit, he said the alternative lifestyles deserve a safe haven out of the shadows. "It's like the Elks Club or the Lions, kind of club for extreme interests, perverse interests or bizarre interests," he said.

Metro cited Powers last year for violating the "sex club" ordinance, which is a zoning law banning sex activity like swinging or social encounters.

As the case moved forward, Powers' attorney, Allen Lichtenstein, stepped up to continue defending the clubs. "He was working there. He does not own the business," Lichtenstein said of Powers.

Lichtenstein has a number of club clients who have used small openings in county code to keep operating. Because none of the clubs can operate legally as "sex clubs," they often use other businesses in the same location to stay open. Power Exchange had a tanning business, Buns in the Sun, but during the I-Team visit, it was not the main attraction.

Lichtenstein points to the wording of the ordinance and believes a federal lawsuit will better define the club scene. "As the law now reads, that it bans any business where people can have sex, or watch people having sex, every hotel on the strip or in the county would be in violation of that," he said.

Powers remains in San Francisco, the site of his original Power Exchange franchise. No court date has been set for the case. Clark County chose not to comment due to the pending litigation.

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