Dallas Says Dance Club Claims to Be Church

Owner says Darkside is exempt from city's land-use regulations

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCDFW
    Dallas City Attorney's Office filed a nuisance lawsuit alleging that Darkside at 3027 W. Northwest Highway is an after-hours dance club, not a church.

    Dallas filed a nuisance lawsuit Wednesday alleging that a building used for after-hours parties violates land-use restrictions.

    The city says Darkside in the 3000 block of  West Northwest Highway near Webb Chapel Extension is a "drug-infested, after-hours" club.

    Dallas said the owner, Glen Hudson, told city officials that his establishment was a "religious organization exempt from the city's land-use regulations." Hudson said he is an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church, the city said.

    The Universal Life Church says on its website that it has ordained more than 20 million people worldwide. It offers "free online ordination" by filling out a quick online form.

    The city had received reports of late-night parties at Darkside. The location does not have a permit to operate as a dance club.

    "Our first concern was that someone might be using the designation of "church"... as a ruse, which is offensive to those that care about... invoking that type of forum to cover illegal and otherwise disturbing activity," said Melissa Miles, senior assistant city attorney.

    According to court papers, Hudson told the city that Darkside is a youth outreach ministry.

    Darkside's manager, Thomas Eppelsheimer, known as Tommy Gunn, was arrested Monday on drug and indecency with a child charges. The city said Eppelsheimer, who is free on bond, is accused of selling illegal drugs to and having sex with underage girls.

    Darkside's location does not have a sign other than graffiti on the side of the building that reads "Darkside."

    Its Facebook page promotes themed parties from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and vows to continue to be open for its event scheduled for Friday.

    According to a posting on its Facebook page, Darkside moved into the Northwest Highway building in September.

    A man claiming to be from the management company refused to comment Wednesday.

    Messages left for Eppelsheimer were not returned.

    The city attorney's office is trying to get a restraining order to keep Darkside closed after dark.