Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Port Richey takes issue with 727 Lounge nightclub's naughty deal

NEW PORT RICHEY — The e-mail was so racy that council member Rob Marlowe dared not detail its contents at Tuesday night's meeting.

But here's what it included: A copy of an undated flier with the image of a scantily clad woman that advertised "Naughty Nightie Night Thursdays" at the 727 Lounge, a new bar in downtown New Port Richey. Women in lingerie get in free, the ad says.

Not exactly the kind of event envisioned for the downtown.

"I was very disappointed," said council member Marilynn deChant. "Landlords need to know who they're renting to."

Turns out the 727 Lounge's landlord is a familiar face to downtown advocates.

The building owner is a corporation headed by Joseph DeLuca, a longtime member of the city's land and development review committee as well as a former board director — and current economic development committee member — of Greater New Port Richey Main Street.

DeLuca's property also houses the offices for Greater New Port Richey Main Street.

Council member Judy DeBella Thomas, who is also the executive director of the Main Street program, said Wednesday she knew nothing about such activities inside her neighbor's space. Though she had not talked about it with DeLuca, she said he probably didn't know anything about it, either.

"I think he'd be appalled to see that going on, and I think he'll certainly address it," said Thomas.

DeLuca did not return phone messages Wednesday.

He is a real estate investor and landlord who has donated to a number of political campaigns over the years, including former city mayor Dan Tipton's run for clerk of circuit court last year as well as the 2008 campaigns of Sheriff Bob White and School Superintendent Heather Fiorentino.

He is also the former owner of what was once called Club 54, an adult entertainment business at Grand Boulevard and State Road 54, county and court records show.

While officials expressed concern about future events at the 727 Lounge, bar owner Todd Swearingen says there will be no more Naughty Nightie Night Thursdays.

In fact, he said the flier that council members recently received is three months old. The club held the event one time in November, he said, and it flopped.

"Nobody showed up," he said. "We don't even do that any more."

Swearingen opened the 727 Lounge at the site of the former Hot Shotz bar last fall. Hot Shotz gained notoriety months earlier after a man was shot and killed just outside the bar during the Chasco Fiesta celebration.

By city ordinance, adult entertainment clubs are prohibited in the downtown district. City police say they are looking into whether the club may hold future events that would meet the ordinance's very detailed definition of adult-oriented businesses.

Since October, police have had 13 service calls at 727 Lounge, none of them serious, said Cpt. Jeffrey Harrington.

Steve Shurdell, vice-president of Greater New Port Richey's board of directors, said the situation illustrates the dilemmas that downtown landlords face. They want to attract the businesses that are on people's "perfect world wish list," from wine shops to art stores.

But those businesses might lack the capital and resources to stick around long. And the landlords still have open spaces they need to fill.

"The problem is that economic reality figures in," he said.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at or (727) 869-6247.

New Port Richey takes issue with 727 Lounge nightclub's naughty deal 02/18/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 10:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren joins other prosecutors in protesting Jeff Sessions' 'tough-on-crime' policy


    TAMPA — Andrew Warren, the state attorney for Hillsborough County, is among signers of a letter from 31 district prosecutors nationwide voicing opposition to the tough-on-crime policies of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    Hillsborough State Atttorney Andrew Warren is among the signers of a letter from 31 top prosecutors nationwide opposing Attorney General Jeff Sessions' 'tough-on-crime' policies. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times
  2. Suspect tells police he killed roommates for disrespecting his Muslim faith


    TAMPA — A man accused of shooting his roommates in a New Tampa apartment told police he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with the two men until he converted to Islam then killed them because they disrespected his faith.

    Devon Arthurs, 18, of Tampa told police  he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with his roommates, Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk, until he converted to Islam and shot them because they disrespected his faith.
[Photo courtesy of Tampa Police]
  3. Nelson, Rubio want Trump to back off cuts to drug office


    Citing an opioid crisis “devastating Florida,” Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are asking the Trump administration to back off plans to gut the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    A letter to the Office of Management and Budget
  4. US President Donald Trump, left,  meets with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Monday, in Jerusalem. Trump opened his first visit to Israel Monday, a two-day stop aimed at testing the waters for jumpstarting the dormant Middle East peace process. [AP photo]
  5. Study: Florida most friendly state for retired veterans

    Working Life

    Florida is the nation's best state for military retirees looking for somewhere to settle. That's according to a study released Monday by WalletHub which rated Florida the most friendly when it comes to economic factors, quality of life and health care.

    Veterans watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp in 2016. Florida is the most friendly state for retired veterans according to a new WalletHub study. | LOREN ELLIOTT, Times