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Guilty plea rocks Galardis

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Atlanta strip club kingpin Jack Galardi will be packing his son and business partner off to prison for up to five years under a plea agreement in which Michael Galardi admitted bribing three San Diego councilmen to overturn that city's anti-lap-dancing law.

However, a federal investigation continues in Las Vegas, where the father-and-son team co-own a strip club at the center of a corruption probe targeting several local government officials. Indictments there are expected any day.

Although the FBI doesn't seem to be looking into any similar illegalities in metro Atlanta, the scandal has the potential to affect Galardi's properties here. If Jack Galardi were to be convicted of any alleged crimes in Las Vegas, he would likely be forced to sell off his vast strip club empire, which includes the Pink Pony and three other local clubs, as well as clubs in Florida and South Carolina.

The scandal began in May, when the FBI simultaneously raided strip clubs in San Diego and Las Vegas owned by Michael Galardi, as well a third club in Vegas he co-owns with his father. In late August, the younger Galardi was indicted on multiple charges, along with three San Diego councilmen and a former Clark County (Nevada) commissioner, who is accused of helping Galardi bribe the councilmen into trying to strike down a city ordinance that prohibits contact between strip-club dancers and customers.

Michael Galardi pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of a deal in which he agreed to help federal prosecutors. It's not known whether the Galardis will lose their three Vegas clubs as a result. Most jurisdictions, including Atlanta, do not allow convicted felons to own a strip club or hold a liquor license.

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