Mature Strippers and Lottery Money:
Too Old To Demean Herself
Feds file age-discrimination suit against strip club
Now this is the kind of federal government you're getting now that Obama's in office — the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a Houston strip club for firing a worker because she was too old.
Finally, we have a gover — what the hell? We're gonna get old strippers now? Bring back McCain!!
The EEOC's Houston office says AHD Houston, Inc., which owns Centerfolds and Cover Girls — described by the agency as "'strip clubs' catering to male customers" — violated age-discrimination laws when it fired Mary Bassi, a 50-year-old waitress.
Bassi had worked for the company for 13 years, but had gotten too old for this shit, as they say in the movies: "In August 2005 a male manager for Cover Girls who was in his 30s began harassing Bassi because of her age," the EEOC says. "On multiple occasions, this manager and another manager referred to Bassi as 'old' and...[told] her she was exhibiting signs of Alzheimer's disease."
And so the federal government has taken on this woman's crusade to continue working in a titty bar.
"Age discrimination is prohibited by federal law, even within the adult entertainment industry," R.J. Ruff Jr., district director of the Houston EEOC office, said. "The EEOC will not stand idly by while employees in any industry are subjected to discrimination because of their age."
Ruff then retired to his office to watch his newest Grandmothers Gone Wild DVD. Well, probably not. RICHARD CONNELLY
Winning Ticket, Losing Money
Houston man can't cash his lucky lotto ticket
Maybe money's tight for you these days so you play the lotto, maybe the Daily 4 game. Then you win and the payout is so much — $600 — you have to take the ticket to a claims office in Houston to get your check.
That was Jesse Phillips's situation recently until a worker at the claims office took his winning ticket and refused to give him any money.
"For the State of Texas to do something like this is absolutely petty, and the government is sick for allowing something like this to happen," says Phillips, who works for the county as a building inspector. "If the lottery people go along with it, they're just as sick as the state."
Phillips tells Hair Balls that he didn't get his check because he's accused of owing the Texas Workforce Commission $2,100 from about 27 years ago. In 1998, the Houston Press wrote a story about Phillips that mentions his dispute with the state. Basically, Phillips was laid off from his job and collected unemployment, but made about $136 working as a security guard for one week. When Phillips mentioned that income to the Workforce Commission, it tried to make him pay back all the unemployment money.
But, he says, the final judgment was for Phillips to repay only the $136, which he did. "That was the last I heard of it,"Phillips says.
The alleged debt showed up in a state database that workers at a claims office are required to check before handing over money.
"If you're in the comptroller system as having a debt to the state...the prize money would automatically be applied to the debt," says Robyn Smith, a spokeswoman with the Texas Lottery. "It's all essentially coming from and going to the state."
Weird thing is, Phillips says he hit a $2,500 jackpot in the Daily 4 earlier this year and cashed in the ticket on February 17. No problems.
There's not much of an explanation for that, because Smith says no one at a claims office has the authority to override a flag in the database. A worker could theoretically ignore the flag, which, according to Smith, would be breaking the law.
Whatever the reason, Phillips didn't get his $600, and even if he's right and the state is wrong, he'll have to wait at least a couple months before he finds out, if he can at all. He has to get his records from the Workforce Commission to prove there's no debt, but, trouble is, someone with the commission told him the records are usually only kept for ten years.
Smith says that Phillips can file a complaint with the Lottery Commission, and it will investigate.
"It's kind of like they're twisting my arm right now," Phillips says. "Of course, if I was to win another lottery, someone else will be cashing it." PAUL KNIGHT
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.