A Lexington businessman has filed a $6.5 million lawsuit against the city and two Lexington police officers, saying he was arrested falsely at his nightclub and charged with violating several laws in mid-May.
William L. McGinnis III, who operated Club9 at 934 Winchester Road, says officers Tyler Trippe and Stacey Shannon conducted a search without a warrant at the property, which included the nightclub and other parts of the building that he had rented to others.
Susan Straub, spokeswoman for Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry, declined comment because "we cannot comment on an open lawsuit."
McGinnis, 41, who was charged during last May's search with possession of marijuana, carrying a concealed deadly weapon and selling alcohol without a license, says he was deliberately and maliciously left in handcuffs at the Fayette County jail for more than three hours and that the handcuffs caused him pain and discomfort.
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After his arrest, McGinnis says, police obtained a search warrant for the property based on evidence they had collected during their illegal search. Then, just after he posted bond, McGinnis says, Trippe returned to the jail and told him he had found cocaine on a couch at the club and charged McGinnis with possession of cocaine.
McGinnis says in the suit that Trippe knew the substance found on a couch was not cocaine and was not McGinnis's, but Trippe "maliciously" charged McGinnis with felony cocaine possession.
McGinnis filed the lawsuit last month in Fayette Circuit Court. He says the defendants acted with complete disregard for his rights, disregard for the law and disregard for police procedure.
McGinnis says his charges were eventually dismissed, and he asked that they be expunged from his record. There is no record of the case in electronic court records.
McGinnis is seeking $1.5 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages "set by a jury in an amount that will sufficiently punish" the defendants, in an amount not less than $5 million.
McGinnis, who rented the club to others on Friday and Saturday nights, said the club was closed for several months after his arrest.
"I lost quite a bit of business," he said. "I've just now started to rent it out again for parties."
He said that the May incident has also ruined his plans to run for a U.S. Senate seat this year. In 1998, while working as a stripper, McGinnis ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Lexington. Later, he had an unsuccessful bid for a congressional seat.
McGinnis operates Lexington Taxi.