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Nightclub deal falls through

Gene Holloway's financial troubles forced him to give up his SeaWolfrestaurant venture last month, but the Crystal River woman who said she was taking over apparently has not done any better.

Joe Redner, who has been subletting the SeaWolf to Holloway, said Wednesday that the deal to transfer ownership of the SeaWolf to Patricia Raymond is off. She was arrested last week on a worthless-check charge and other charges.

That, along with the removal of almost everything in the building, suggests that patrons of the restaurant and nightclub will have to wait some time before it reopens.

Redner, the controversial owner of several nude dancing clubs, leases the SeaWolf property from the Pappas restaurant family in Tarpon Springs and has an option to buy it for $2-million. Last month, he and Raymond confirmed that they were close to completing a deal that would put the property in her hands.

But Redner said he took her first $10,600 rent check to the bank Feb. 6 and was told she had closed the account there more than a year ago. Then he went to the state attorney's office in Inverness to try to press charges.

Assistant State Attorney Paul Norville said he told Redner that the state could not bring a charge because the check was post-dated. But the next day, Raymond, 34, of 123 Pompeo Ave. N, was arrested on four warrants from other Florida counties, Sheriff's Office records show.

She faces a worthless-check charge in Lake County, a failure to appear in court on a worthless-check charge in Pasco County, a petty theft charge in Pinellas County, and a violation of probation charge in Clay County, according to the records.

"She's a bulls--- artist," Redner said. "All she does is bad checks."

On Tuesday, Raymond was arrested again, this time for having a driver's license that she obtained in December 1988 using the name Raymond before that became her legal name. She is free on bail.

A woman who answered Raymond's phone Wednesday said that Raymond would not comment on her arrest.

At the SeaWolf on Wednesday afternoon, a truck that backed up to the door was filled with restaurant fixtures. Little remained inside.

Workers said that Holloway had just left the premises and that they did not know where the fixtures were being taken.

Redner said that Holloway removed the fixtures after a federal bankruptcy judge Friday lifted a stay on a lawsuit that Redner filed against the SeaWolf in September seeking back rent and return of restaurant items. Holloway filed for protection from his creditors nine days later.

Holloway could not be reached for comment.

Outside the restaurant Wednesday, a portable sign read "New Owner in Jail" and "Nude Dancers Coming Soon XXX." Redner once tried to open a nude dancing lounge near the SeaWolf but he now says he has no such plans.

"I really don't want to open a place up there," he said. "I'm going to consolidate down here in larger cities. But you never know when I'm going to change my mind."