Bar Brings Hookers, Transvestites To Downtown

CLEVELAND – If you've been bothered by prostitutes and transvestites in Downtown Cleveland's Gateway District, it shouldn't be much of a surprise. A local politician said that a nearby bar might be to blame, Tom Meyer, The Investigator, reported.

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The city's downtown councilman, Joe Cimperman, said that most of the problems could be traced to a bar called the Domino Lounge at East 4th Street and Prospect Avenue. The bar is said to be a popular hangout for transvestites.

Gateway residents and business owners said that both transvestites and prostitutes are harassing unsuspecting visitors to the section of town that includes Jacobs Field and Gund Arena.

"There appears to be a lot of prostitutes hanging out and it doesn't appear to be a safe neighborhood anymore," a Gateway resident who simply wanted to be called "Jim" said.

Business owners have approached Cimperman to do something about keeping "undesirable elements" to themselves.

"It's a red flag," restaurant manager Geoffrey Rose said. "We don't want that element. We're not going to allow it and we're going to make sure something is done about it."

Cimperman has heard the complaints about prostitutes and panhandlers getting in people's faces and shouting at those who don't cooperate with them.

"When you have that kind of harassment, it doesn't help residents or business owners try to live in peace down there," Cimperman said.

Cimperman has put the owner of the Domino Lounge on alert.

"We are contemplating going after his liquor license, which would basically shut the place down and cost him $50,000," Cimperman said.

A special meeting has been called next week to deal with the escalating problem.

Action News tried to talk with the owner of the Domino Lounge, but he was not available and could not be reached by phone.