Strippergate ’98 and Paul Davis: Observations from the Scene

Kansas voters will soon go to the polls and decide who they want to govern our state for the next four years. The question is what criteria will be used to fill this position? While economic issues such as business, jobs, and taxes always weigh heavily in our state, Kansans, more often than not, attempt to find leadership through people of faith and good moral values.

In 1998, I was a member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. One of several jobs I performed within this multi-agency group was that of serving drug search warrants. I was on location at the Secrets lounge near Coffeyville, Kansas, when a drug raid snared current Democratic nominee for governor, Paul Davis.

The Secrets lounge was very seedy strip club, the kind of place a person needed a tetanus shot just to drive by. Prior to serving the warrant, the Drug Task Force had conducted a methamphetamine sale in the parking lot with the establishment’s owner, a client of Davis’s law firm. Initial contact officers at the scene referred to Davis as “The a-hole attorney.” At least one police report describes Davis as initially noncompliant and more than one officer stated that he was extremely arrogant. As Davis addresses this past issue today, some might say things have not changed.

The Paul Davis strip club incident in 1998 could never be a “non-issue,” not in the Kansas Bible Belt. However, it could have been a less perplexing issue for social-minded voters if the 2014 Democrat Gubernatorial candidate had simply offered the people two things: a reasonable account of his actions and an apology for doing what is obviously wrong. Instead, when it came to picking between the high road and the low road for explaining the strip club incident, Davis picked an even lower road and thus reinforced the definition of the “scumbag politician.”

Davis gave an official statement to Politico: “When I was 26 years old, I was taken to a club by my boss – the club owner was one of our legal clients. While we were in the building, the police showed up. I was never accused of having done anything wrong, but rather I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” If we critically analyze the Davis statement, we find it lacking. First, Davis acts as though he were a child being placed on the school bus by the principal for an ill-fated field trip. Does this ring true? Davis certainly grew up fast amidst the strippers at Secrets.

Second, Davis frames his presence at the strip club as part of a professional visit by saying the club owner was a legal client. This brings about the obvious questions as to why he was there in a pullover shirt and shorts and not in a suit with his law books in tow. Davis was found in the VIP room, a room where patrons enter after paying extra for a flesh-on-flesh session with a pleasure-worker. This is an overt action, not something everyone who gets a ride to the establishment receives. The going rate for the VIP room at Secrets in 1998 was twenty dollars. Did he pay the pleasure-worker (stripper) this fee or was the cost deducted from his firm’s legal fees? Davis should clarify the point.

Lastly, and most important of all, Davis says, “I was never accused of having done anything wrong, but rather I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” These statements are painfully Clintonesque in nature and should anger all Kansas voters, treating us as if we are morally and intellectually inferior. Most Kansans are clearheaded enough to know one does not have to be handcuffed and end up in federal prison, as did Davis’s drug-dealing client, to have done something wrong. Simply put, there is criminal wrong doing and moral wrongdoing. Has Davis forgotten he lives in the Bible Belt?

Truth is the biggest challenger to Paul Davis in his current political race. He did wrong back in 1998, and he refuses to clarify his actions on that night. More importantly, Davis refuses to apologize to the same constituency he is asking for votes. If elected, will Davis display this same arrogance and lack of accountability at the voter’s expense? Davis’s own recent quote that says “The best example of future behavior is past behavior” may be foreshadowing things to come if Kansans treat Strippergate 98 as just another little innocent night out.

Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books and is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association’s 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award winning, Conscience of Kansas airing across the state. Visit his website at For interviews or questions, please contact

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