In early September, Dawn Rizos, owner of Dallas gentleman’s club The Lodge, received a fax from a Newt Gingrich conservative group explaining that she was being honored as “Entrepreneur of the Year” for her “success in building [her] business and recognition of the risks you take to create jobs and stimulate the economy.”
Rizos wasn’t necessarily surprised by the award. After all, The Lodge is a commercial success, and was named the Best Overall Club in America last year by ED Publications, which sponsors the gentlemen’s club industry’s annual convention and trade show.
But she became distraught when the group, American Solutions for Winning the Future (chaired by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich) abruptly stripped her of the award, costing her the chance to “dine privately with Newt,” and have his ear on ways to “turn this country around.” American Solutions now claims it confused Rizos’ Dallas business, which is legally called DCG Inc., with one by the same name in Virginia.
Never mind the fact that Rizos had already been asked to join Gingrich’s Business Defense and Advisory Council and had paid a $5,000 (annual) fee. A letter signed by Gingrich thanked her for her contribution and claimed he looked forward to presenting her with the award on October 7 in Washington, D.C. (American Solutions says it will refund the $5,000, and reimburse Rizos for the cost of her plane ticket to Washington.)
Meanwhile, a similar incident occurred with Allison Vivas of the adult entertainment studio Pink Visual, which also was to receive an “Entrepreneur of the Year” award from American Solutions. That, too, was quickly pulled back.