LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- A Louisville Metro Councilman is raising red flags as a developer works to expand his business in Smoketown. David James claims the business owner also runs a sex club, but the well-known businessman disputes that and argues he's operating a health club that caters to a gay clientele.
"It’s not a matter of the business itself. It’s a matter of is this business appropriate for that location,” James said.
The business in question is Vapor Spa. It's tucked away in the Smoketown neighborhood and operates as a private men’s health club. It is also part of a 450,00 square foot development that George Stinson and his business part Ed Lewis are building.
"I don’t have a problem with the rest of the development, I only have a problem with the portion known as the Vapor Spa,” James said.
Stinson said those with memberships at Vapor Spa sign an agreement, stating they are a gay man. They then have access to the outdoor pool, steam room, fitness center, and private changing rooms.
James said, according to the CDC, about 20 percent of the men who have sex with men in Louisville, who have been investigated by the health department and have an STD, admit to visiting Vapor.
"We have issues of sexually transmitted diseases according to the health department coming through there. But the bigger problem is this is a place that advertises and suggests lude behavior at its location,” James said.
James claims the spa operates as a sex club. He said he went there under a different name after constituents raised concerns about the establishment.
"There were people openly having sex all over the place in the building there, so I was kind of shocked,” James said.
Stinson said there's no record of James ever entering the facility. Stinson said James has been attacking his business for the last year by wrongly calling it a sex club and insinuating men are getting STDs while there.
Stinson said, “what percent of those men also went to church on Sunday or visited the grocery store? I have operated gay businesses for 40 years and everyone has been called a sex club. It never stops”.
He said the problem is James doesn't like the way Stinson does business.
James said, "I don't know that we want to generate economic development through a sex club in Louisville, if that’s what we want to be known as."
The spa is only one part of the development that Stinson is building. The space includes a hotel, event center, and two restaurants. In order to move forward with construction, the council must vote on an alley closure. The closure passed in the Planning and Zoning committee.
James said he will bring it up on Thursday at the council meeting.