Whately Selectboard considers easing Club Castaway’s police detail requirement long-term

Club Castaway at 226 State Road in Whately.

Club Castaway at 226 State Road in Whately. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Club Castaway co-owner Nick Spagnola, bottom left, speaks to the Whately Selectboard Monday evening.

Club Castaway co-owner Nick Spagnola, bottom left, speaks to the Whately Selectboard Monday evening. SCREENSHOT

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 06-12-2024 10:47 AM

WHATELY — Club Castaway can continue to operate without a police detail on Thursdays for at least two more weeks, while the Selectboard considers dropping the Thursday night requirement on a more long-term basis.

The board has been easing the strip club back into operation since its reopening last fall and loosened the business’ license variance from requiring police details on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to just the weekend back in January. At its meeting Monday evening, the board spoke with club co-owner Nick Spagnola and Police Chief James Sevigne Jr. as members determined whether to stick with the current requirement.

“Public safety is always important to us. … I think it’s working pretty well for now, so no request for changing,” Spagnola said of requiring weekend police details. “Having a detail on Thursdays is a waste of time and resources. … If we expect a packed house, we’ll communicate with the chief.”

While Sevigne said he’d be OK with dropping the requirement entirely based on the club’s track record since its reopening and the relationship they have, Selectboard member Joyce Palmer-Fortune said she’d like to at least require details on Friday and Saturday nights, noting they don’t know how big the business may grow in the future.

During the course of the discussion, however, Sevigne revealed there are 13 outstanding invoices totaling around $3,000 in back pay for police details that he would like to see paid. The board then asked Spagnola if the club was up to date on its taxes, to which he said the club owes about $2,000.

Spagnola said he doesn’t take the unpaid bills “lightly” and the winter months were difficult for the business, but he said he should be able to take care of the bills quickly.

“We know we have some bills due and I feel confident this week we can get everything to a zero balance,” he said. “Sorry we fell behind.”

Based on those revelations, the Selectboard voted to not require a police detail on Thursdays for two more weeks and invited Spagnola back in two weeks to discuss a long-term requirement, which will be contingent on bills being paid.

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“We’ll revisit this in two weeks and I believe the point that we will consider most is that everything is paid,” said Selectboard Chair Fred Baron. “We want to be a good neighbor, but we also want to make sure our police on detail are getting paid and make sure our taxes are getting paid.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com.