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Mako's Plus files for protection

The corporate owner of Mako's Plus, a popular Clearwater night spot, is asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to hold its creditors at bay while it reorganizes. Blackpool Palace Ltd. of Florida, which owns the nightclub on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, has filed for the protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

"It's a temporary thing," said Michael Pattemore, an owner and operator of the business. "We are doing the same as Burdines and those other stores."

Mako's Plus will operate as usual during the proceedings, he said.

Pattemore would not elaborate on what caused the club's financial troubles. He gave a clue in a recent letter to Clearwater's Planning and Zoning Board.

In the letter, Pattemore asked the board to carefully consider before it allows another nightclub to be built nearby on the Jersey Jim Towers' property at Gulf-To-Bay and U.S. 19.

He said too many clubs already are in the area, and competition is forcing the clubs to feature things such as lingerie shows and male dancers, "which have met substantial objections from the city of Clearwater."

Mako's itself has employed such tactics. Its sign frequently advertises lingerie shows, and last September three male dancers were arrested after allegedly engaging in obscene behavior while on stage during ladies night at the club.

"The competition has basically reduced all of the various businesses to a level of competition where none of the businesses can really meet any degree of substantial success," the letter said. Several clubs in the immediate area feature entertainment.

Documents filed in bankruptcy court did not list the business's assets and liabilities.

They did, however, ask the court for permission to continue to operate the business and pay salaries. There is a specific request by Pattemore's attorney to allow the business to pay Michael Pattemore $10,000 a month salary so he can meet his living expenses of $7,400 a month.

"If the court doesn't allow a salary to be paid to Pattemore he may not be able to meet his personal living expenses and may be forced to forgo food and other necessities and will be forced to seek other employment," the request said.

The nightclub has had problems with the city almost since it changed its name from Pattemore's to Mako's Plus in late 1988.

Its plans to sell alcohol on an open deck were turned down by the City Commission because of opposition from members of a nearby church. The club eventually enclosed the deck and got a variance to sell alcohol in the addition.