ONLY ON 3: Woman fights to keep sex club out of her Dalton build - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

ONLY ON 3: Woman fights to keep sex club out of her Dalton building

WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - A Chattanooga woman says she was determined to keep sex parties from happening inside her commercial building. 

The building is in Dalton and she convinced a judge to kick the tenants out before they could host an event.

When it comes to Georgia law there is a difference between private sex clubs and a public business like porn shops and strip joints. Public businesses follow local laws and ordinances. But if people are 'paying members' of a private sex club, what they do behind closed doors is their business, even if you or your neighbors don't like it.

Jayne Bynum says as soon as her renters made unusual renovations to her building she started asking questions. 

"We started talking about it and I'm like, 'I think there's something. Don't ask me why. I think it's sex,'" said Jayne Bynum, the building owner.

The woman renting the building told Bynum the space was for parties and events. But when Bynum found the renter's picture on swingers forums and adult websites, she worried her building was about to become a sex club. 

"I felt I had to right a wrong," said Bynum.

After a legal battle in court, a judge agreed Bynum could break the lease and throw out the renters.

In court documents, the tenant denied any plans for sex parties or illegal activity.

"I have found not only these people, but it's happening everywhere. They call themselves private clubs. And they're able to get away with it. No one questions them," said Bynum.

When people do question them, sex club owners have the law on their side.

In Nashville, a sex club known as 'The Social Club' opened next door to a school. State lawmakers blocked private sexual swinging clubs from locating within 1,000 feet of schools, churches, daycares or parks and the city passed an ordinance preventing private clubs from using space zoned for office buildings. But the club re-branded itself as a church.    

"They put so much emphasis on their first amendment and they're ability to do and chose that they seem to not realize they're encroaching on other people's rights," said Bynum.

"Under the Georgia Constitution, people have the right to engage in consensual behavior, even if you or i might think that it's immoral behavior," said Whitfield County Attorney Robert Smalley.

Smalley is the County Attorney for Whitfield County. He says a 'members only' sex club has every right to open as long it follows local ordinances.  

"As long there are adults who are able to make decisions for themselves and are freely consenting and it's not harming other people, then the government has no business in regulating that activity," he said.

 "When people come to you and they tell you something, you can't take them at their word. Which is unfortunate," said Bynum.

In Bynum's case, the judge let her break the lease because her insurance company would no longer cover the building.  

"I think that there's a need to address what is happening across this country because no one is paying any attention," said Bynum.

Whitfield County does have ordinances on the books regulating what is classified as 'adult entertainment businesses' but those are open to the public.

Bynum says she is pushing for tougher legislation in Georgia to address private sex clubs. 

Channel 3 reached out to the former renters in Bynum's building by phone and through Facebook for comment but never heard back.

A community near Nashville is in an uproar because a well-known sex club moved into a building near a Christian school.

The city changed its zoning ordinance to prevent the opening but the club rebranded itself as a 'church' to have protection under the constitution and the fight continues.

Jayne Bynum lives in Chattanooga but grew up in Whitfield County. She owns a commercial building off Cleveland Highway in Dalton.

Last August a woman and her husband leased her building as an event hall. Bynum says that was just a front.

"I had asked what the name of their business was and they couldn't tell us. They were really vague," said Jayne Bynum, who owns the building.

Jayne Bynum had her doubts about the real reason the couple interested in her building wanted a 20-year lease.

"I was thinking events is like receptions and birthday parties and such. I've learned now 'events' is broadened and it includes naughty school girl parties and so on and so forth," said Bynum.

The couple started spending $40,000 on renovations. They started covering front windows, enclosing the front entrance area.

"I asked what the purpose of that was and he said that was to 'buzz in the bridal parties.' And if you notice the doors are metal. And I was like,'That doesn't make any sense.'"

Alarm bells went off when five small rooms were added.

"He said something to the effect, 'That's where the bride and groom goes after they're married.' And I'm like, 'No, no, no, no.'"

Bynum and her husband had a bad feeling.

"We started talking about it and I'm like, 'I think there's something. Don't ask me why. I think it's sex,'" said Bynum.

Bynum searched the internet and found photos of her renter on swingers forums and past references to adult parties in Whitfield County, all perfectly legal activities.

"I was blown away. I did not realize that that was even, one, that it would even happen in this county. That it would happen in this area. Or that it even happened to us," said Bynum.

One Facebook page had the building's address listed for the 'Bottoms Up Club.' The woman also had links to the 'Erotic Rumors Club' website,  which touted a new Dalton location opening soon.

"When you go into the websites and you see where they're having their parties, these people post pictures of their anatomy. And I'm thinking, 'They're going to be coming into our building and they're all going to be rolling around and doing whatever,'" said Bynum.

Bynum went to court to get out of the lease and a judge agreed, claiming Bynum was never told the real reason for the business.  The judge ruled that when Bynum's insurance carrier canceled the policy on the building, that gave Bynum grounds to end the lease.  

"I felt I had to right a wrong," said Bynum.

The couple that leased the building adamantly denied any plans for sex parties or anything illegal.

They claim the landlord harassed them and tried to give them a bad name by calling her business "lewd, immoral, and unethical" in a petition drive.

Court documents obtained by Channel 3 show three events on the books-- one for a Valentine's Party with 100 guests plus two other events listed only as "private parties."

The tenant claimed she lost more than $10,000 by having to cancel those parties.

"When people come to you and they tell you something, you can't take them at their word. Which is unfortunate," said Bynum.

She says the building has been in her family for 30 years and she owed it to surrounding businesses and neighbors to try to break the lease.

The attorney that used to represent the renters did not want to comment to Channel 3 saying he no longer has anything to do with them. 

Powered by Frankly