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Manager sues over loss of nude-club job

The man says he was wrongfully fired because he opened a private room for police during a raid rather than go to jail.

A former manager of the 2001 Odyssey claims in a lawsuit that he was fired after allowing police to enter a private room at the adult club rather than be arrested.

Anthony Clay claims in the lawsuit filed Friday in Hillsborough Circuit Court that club owners instructed employees to lock "VIP rooms" during police raids and refuse to open them even if threatened with arrest.

Management promised a $500 bonus to those employees arrested, the suit said, a claim a club supervisor denied Friday.

Police raided the club on N Dale Mabry Highway on Sept. 15 at 10:30 p.m. While officers arrested and handcuffed one employee for refusing to open a door, another officer told Clay to open a VIP room and Clay complied.

He told an owner later that night that he opened the door because he didn't want to go to jail, the suit claims.

Three days later, according to the suit, supervisor Hal King phoned Clay at home and told him he was fired for being a "weak link."

King, reached Friday at 2001, denied that the bar had a policy of paying bonuses to employees who are arrested. The club does reimburse employees for legal fees, he said. He declined to comment further.

Tampa passed an ordinance in November 1999 that prohibits nude dancers from coming within 6 feet of customers.

Clubs defying that ordinance have been raided repeatedly since then.

Clay, who could not be reached Friday, claims he was wrongfully terminated, and wants his job back and back pay for time missed since his firing.