As the city of Buffalo continues to grow and new businesses open, some businesses are experiencing problems in their attempts to open or expand. One business experiencing these problems is a gentleman’s club called The Body Shop on William Street. James Grys, the owner, has been working since 2011 to open his business and has encountered several roadblocks from the city of Buffalo. Constitutional attorney Barry Covert spoke to WGRZ’s Claudine Ewing about The Body Shop and the issues that many businesses face when trying to open in Buffalo. The full story is available on the WGRZ website.
Lawsuit filed against city
One problem that James Grys, the owner of The Body Shop, faced in attempting to open his business was a set of claims that his previous business had “hundreds” of police calls. Mr. Covert, who is representing Grys to investigate the issue, told WGRZ that “it was patently false. I contacted the police chief and I contacted the local judge at that location and they both said that location had no prior problems.”
WGRZ reports that Grys filed a lawsuit against the city for violating his constitutional rights. Mr. Covert told Claudine Ewing, “The Supreme Court, and all the courts, have long since determined that city officials could not exercise unfettered discretion in deciding whether or not they’re going to allow a business to operate at a certain location.”
Frustration with Buffalo zoning codes
A large part of the frustration that Grys and other Buffalo business-owners face has to do with the city’s zoning code. When asked about it by WGRZ, Mr. Covert said that “the code is antiquated.” He went on to say, “I’ve reviewed codes nationwide, in the majority of states in this country, and this is one of the worst-written codes.”
Mr. Covert told WGRZ that politics may play a part in which businesses get their permits and which do not. “I think that as long as you are in the favor of city officials you’re probably going to be fine,” he said, “but if you’re a stranger or you are, for some reason, not in alignment with their current views, you absolutely can have huge problems and better be ready to hire lawyers to come and challenge. And that’s very sad.”
About Barry N. Covert
Mr. Covert is a senior partner in Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area. He is known for his aggressive representation of clients in the areas of New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals; driving while intoxicated; constitutional law, including First Amendment, civil rights actions, and federal False Claims Act; defending against allegations of scientific misconduct and fraud, research misconduct and fraud, plagiarism, and fabrication of evidence; and professional licensing defense. Mr. Covert frequently provides legal analysis for WGRZ and other media outlets.