Former Owner of Strip Club West of Casper Claims it Has Organized Crime Ties
The former owner of the Racks Gentlemen's Club west of Casper said in a sworn deposition that a motorcycle gang controls the women who dance there and takes a share of their earnings.
The deposition of convicted felon Sonny Pilcher, conducted by Casper attorney Stephen Winship on Sept. 25, was part of an attempt to find out how Racks could stay in business when it has operated at a loss in recent years.
Friday evening, Pilcher told K2 Radio News that the business arrangement is not about him but rather the club itself and the women who dance there.
The arrangement is strictly business, Pilcher said. "It's nothing illegal."
In the deposition, Pilcher said, "The girls are controlled -- anything north of Denver is controlled by the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, a hundred percent."
The deposition was taken for a civil lawsuit filed by Monty Elliott and his Omega Construction, who are seeking compensation from Pilcher, Arta Blake, John Blake, Linlog, LLC, CC Cowboys, Inc. (the legal name of Racks), and Anthony MacMillan.
Pilcher is still listed as the president of CC Cowboys, according to Wyoming Secretary of State records. However, he is not the owner of the club.
"They take a large portion of what those girls make," Pilcher said. Jackson attorney Audrey Paula Cohen-Davis represented Pilcher in the deposition taken in Casper, but the portion of the transcript supplied to K2 Radio News by Winship did not include any questions from her.
Even women who work as exotic dancers independent of Racks eventually will be discovered by the gang, which will take control of a portion of their earnings, he said.
At Racks, when a dancer does a "VIP" -- a personal performance for a customer -- the gang would get $15 of the $100 paid to the dancer, Pilcher said. A dancer who gave a lap dance would receive $25, and $5 of that would go to the gang.
Friday evening, Pilcher told K2 Radio News that the motorcycle gang has an arrangement with the dancers in which it will take care of them, refer them to nightclubs for work, and in return receive part of their earnings.
The motorcycle club does not abuse them, he added. "You can ask the girls if they're strong-armed."
As part of that arrangement, the motorcycle gang will "take care of the bills" if Racks needed help with payments for utilities, he said. In the deposition, Pilcher said Racks keep no receipts of those payments. He himself receives no cash from the gang.
The gang likes Racks, Pilcher said. "They are good people."
His dealings with the motorcycle gang go back to 1996 when it approached him about offering bouncer services at a nightclub he had called Sidelines, he told K2 Radio News. Racks itself opened in the late 2000s.
In the deposition, Pilcher referred to the "Outlaw Motorcycle Gang," but that's a vague term. There is a motorcycle club called the "Outlaws," but the "outlaw" term could be applied to other motorcycle clubs deemed either not members of the American Motorcyclist Association and/or regarded by the U.S. Department of Justice as "organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises."
In the deposition, Winship asked Pilcher how the motorcycle gang would know if the dancers were making money, keeping it and not giving a portion to the gang, and he could give an excuse that it was a slow night for business.
The gang solved that problem by setting up a camera system inside the club, he said.
"They're tied into CC Cowboys' camera system," Pilcher said. "You don't want to mess with them. You know what I'm saying? You don't. And they consider that you have, so you are a bitter enemy."
Pilcher's business and legal woes have been around for a long time.
In 2014, he pleaded guilty to one felony count of obstruction of the administration of Internal Revenue Service laws. He admitted to claiming $258,000 of false bad debt on his 2008 tax return and paying his employees in cash in order to avoid paying employment taxes.
Pilcher was sentenced to one year in federal prison, during which he filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection -- liquidation of assets to pay creditors -- in July 2015.
A bankruptcy court judge declared that Pilcher should not be afforded bankruptcy protection because he did not disclose all his assets and lied under oath.
Pilcher initially listed about $5.2 million he owed to mostly local creditors, many of whom are construction subcontractors. In January 2016, after he was released from prison, he filed paperwork identifying another $730,000 in debts, bringing the total to about $5.9 million.
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