Adam Clayton Powell IV Finds Campaign Backer: Strip Club Owner With a Background in Stock-Scams

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There's an outside shot that Adam Clayton Powell IV could win his race against aging Harlem warhorse Charlie Rangel this month. If so, just check out today's Daily News for more evidence why reporters everywhere are rooting for him to pull out a victory: He's endlessly good copy. Confronted by the News' Barbara Ross and Kathleen Lucadamo that he had taken $5,000 for his congressional campaign from a strip club owner with a stock fraud conviction, Powell managed to give several different versions of his ties to the donor, all in the same interview.

"Wow," Powell said -- six times -- as the Newsers ticked off the background of Konstantine (Gus) Drakopoulos who owns a "Gentleman's Cabaret" called "Sin City" in the Bronx. These included his 2002 plea to an insider trading scam, racial and sexual harassment lawsuits filed against him by club dancers, and the state Liquor Authority's efforts to pull his license "for serving alcohol to minors, brawls, noise, and disturbances."

After he finished with the "Wows," Powell -- who is making Rangel's pending ethics trial in Congress his main campaign platform -- acknowledged that he knew Drakopoulos was a strip club owner. "By the time I found out, the checks had long been cashed," he said.

Then he dropped that story, admitting that when he first met Drakopoulos at a March fundraiser, the club owner invited him to visit his "state-of-the-art" south Bronx joint which advertises "50-100 ladies every evening" and holds special post-Yankee game shows. Then Powell backpedaled further, saying he didn't know when he found out about the club. The would-be congressman was clear on one thing: He refused to name the individual who introduced him to Drakopoulos, only that it was "mutual friend." Powell also recalled that the convicted scamster told him he hated Rangel, saying, "Get that crook out of there."

Powell swore he never made the trip up to Park Avenue near East 138th Street, but admitted he also knew that Drakopoulos is trying to open a new strip club in Queens over "vehement community opposition."

"What he owns, if it's legal, I can look the other way," Powell told the News. "What you are telling me is illegal, and I have a problem with that," he said. He then proceeded to return just $3,000 of the $5,000 in donations, the News says.

That's the Adam Powell we've come to know over the years -- the one who admitted a relationship with a 19-year-old Albany intern while beating rape charges a couple years ago and who took a driving-while-impaired rap earlier this year. He would be a natural in Congress.

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