Strip-club owner's death good news to beating victim

Posted: January 20, 2012

GEORGE FOREACRE is not a coldhearted guy.

But he couldn't help but celebrate this week's death of notorious strip-club mogul Robert Laflar, who faced trial in October in the fatal beating of Foreacre's friend.

"I know he [Laflar] has children, and they're innocents. That's the ones I feel bad for," said Foreacre, 37, who survived the 2009 attack outside Laflar's strip club that left him with four fractured vertebrae and his buddy Jimmy Koons dead. "But when you dance with the devil, you got to answer to the devil, and he answered to the devil today. It's a good day."

Laflar, who was 46, owned the Oasis Gentleman's Club and Christine's Cabaret, in Southwest Philadelphia. Oasis manager John Pettit and Oasis bouncer Edwin Padua stand accused of beating Foreacre and Koons and booting them out of the Essington Avenue club - and attacking them again in the parking lot as the pair called police to report the incident.

Koons, 31, a father of two from Media, died when his head struck the pavement after Pettit allegedly punched him in the forehead, knocking him to the ground. Foreacre said yesterday that Laflar had sucker-punched him. Surveillance cameras captured the incident.

Laflar and Pettit were charged with third-degree murder and related offenses. Padua is charged with aggravated assault. A trial for Pettit and Padua is set for Oct. 16, the third anniversary of Koons' death. Tasha Jamerson, spokeswoman for District Attorney Seth Williams, said yesterday that her office would proceed with the trial as scheduled against Pettit and Padua.

Laflar's attorney, Fortunato N. Perri Jr., said he did not know the circumstances of his client's death. But acquaintances said that Laflar had struggled with substance abuse for years and recently spent time in drug rehab in Malibu, Calif.

The FBI was investigating Laflar's strip clubs and his auto-salvage shop, Gianni's, in connection with alleged kickbacks involving the Philadelphia Police Department and the Department of Licenses and Inspections, the Inquirer reported last February.

Since Koons' death, Foreacre has grown so concerned about Laflar's crooked connections that he got four dogs to protect him and moved to Florida.

"I still am petrified," he said, but he vowed that he'll return to Philadelphia to testify against Pettit and Padua and "see justice done."

Still, one admirer described Laflar as "an entrepreneurial guy who ran a good ship."

"You could eat off the floor at Oasis; it was really, really clean, and the girls were pretty," said Harry Jay Katz, the East Falls millionaire and storied playboy. "Plus, when I was single, it certainly didn't hurt to have him, who had 50 to 60 magnificent nymphomaniacs working for him, as a friend."

Last June, Laflar told the Daily News that he was a former model and claimed to be a close, longtime friend of actor Brad Pitt, who he said he met when both were 16 and shooting a jeans commercial in Los Angeles. Since then, Laflar claimed, Pitt, Angelina Jolie and their kids quietly visited his Blue Bell, Montgomery County, home about once a year.

- Staff writer Dan Gross

contributed to this report.

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