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Diva’s again avoids eviction

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Diva's Gentlemen's Club owner Diane Cormier stands in front of the entrance of her Bangor nightclub Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 13, 2010. Cormier said her landlord's eviction case against her was tossed out of court Tuesday. "The truth always wins, " said Cormier Wednesday. " Exotic dancing needs to be protected. I haven't done anything wrong. Justice prevailed." (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)
By Eric Russell, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Diva’s Gentleman’s Club owner Diane Cormier has staved off eviction again after a judge ruled in her favor in an eviction battle involving the exotic-nightclub proprietor and her landlord.

In a decision dated Jan. 3, Superior Court Justice S. Kirk Studstrup ruled that landlord Thomas Brann did not sufficiently prove his claims against Cormier in his eviction request.

Related Eight months behind on rent, Diva’s in Bangor faces eviction
The tumultuous 13-year relationship between Diane Cormier, owner-operator of Diva’s Gentleman’s Club, and the city of Bangor may be headed for a separation.

Brann had alleged that Cormier, his tenant at 190 Harlow St. since 2008, owed at least $7,500 in back rent, that she made renovations to the space without his permission and that she purchased inadequate liability insurance.

Cormier disputed those claims and insisted she has paid all debts.

Studstrup ruled Monday in Bangor District Court that the lease agreement contained ambiguities and also wrote that Brann’s own record keeping made financial matters more confusing. In short, Studstrup said both sides failed to communicate effectively about their intentions, but concluded that Cormier was not negligent.

Although Cormier could not be reached for comment Monday, her attorney, Kirk Bloomer, said his client was pleased with the decision and hopes to return to business as usual. The lease between Cormier and Brann is good for at least another year, Bloomer said, with an option for automatic renewal.

Neither Brann nor his attorney, F. David Walker, could be reached for comment Monday.

Diva’s has been in business in Bangor since 1998 and moved from State Street to Harlow Street in 2008. It’s the only exotic-dancing business in the city and has more than 20 part-time employees, according to Cormier.

Earlier this year, the club’s owner went before the City Council to ask councilors to ease restrictions to allow her exotic dancers to perform topless. City ordinances allow nude dancing and the consumption of alcohol, but not both at the same time, a combination Cormier has said hurts her business. To comply with the ordinance, Diva’s serves alcohol but requires dancers to wear the equivalent of bikini tops and bottoms.

The City Council denied Cormier’s request in late June around the same time Brann first moved forward with eviction proceedings.

The landlord gave Cormier a chance to vacate voluntarily. In exchange, she would not be held financially liable for the remainder of her lease. She said no, which forced Brann to take the matter to court.

The initial eviction attempt was dismissed in October because of a technicality, but Brann and his attorney tried again. Both sides made their case during a hearing on Dec. 6.

Bloomer said he expects the recent court decision to take some pressure off his client, but he doesn’t imagine the future relationship between Cormier and Brann to be a close one.

In court earlier this month, Cormier said she hopes to stay on Harlow Street for the foreseeable future.

“I love the place,” she said. “I’ve put a lot of money into this building.”

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