Scottsdale bar owner fights discrimination claim - East Valley Tribune: News

Scottsdale bar owner fights discrimination claim

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Posted: Tuesday, August 7, 2007 5:10 pm | Updated: 6:43 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A Scottsdale nightclub owner accused of discrimination by members of the transgendered community will refuse to cooperate with a state probe.

Tom Anderson said it was safety, and not prejudice, that prompted him to ban a number of transgendered patrons from Anderson’s Fifth Estate, 6820 E. Fifth Ave.

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is investigating, but Anderson declared this week he will not voluntarily attend an under-oath interview.

“If the Attorney General’s office wants to talk to me, they need to serve a subpoena,” Anderson said in a statement late Monday. “Then we will have an opportunity to see a judge to determine if an individual’s sexual orientation entitles them to protection under Arizona law.”

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Terry Goddard refused to speak specifically about the complaint against Anderson. But in typical civil rights cases, added Andrea M. Esquer, if a party declines to cooperate “we would review our options, which could include a subpoena.”

Banned from the club, Michele deLaFreniere accuses Anderson of making his statement a promotional ploy.

“If he has nothing to hide, he should go to the AG’s office,” said deLaFreniere, who also is chair of Scottsdale’s Human Relations Commission. “But, obviously, he must have something to hide here.”

deLaFreniere has charged that Anderson used sexual orientation as the reason to ban her and other transgendered people last fall from the Old Town Scottsdale club.

But Anderson has said he did it after receiving dozens of complaints from female customers, who objected to having “men in dresses” using the women’s restroom. There also were problems with having transgendered people using the men’s restroom, because men harassed them and took pictures, Anderson has said.

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