Redner says his biggest accomplishment has been in the battles he's waged against local, state and federal governments – some successful, others not. After opening his first strip club – Redner prefers the term "adult entertainment" – he was arrested 36 times on obscenity charges by officials. He claimed that it was his First Amendment right to operate the club.
In 2000, Redner vehemently opposed the so-called "six-foot rule," a county ordinance preventing adult entertainers from coming within six feet of their clients. The rule is still on the books, but isn't enforced.
In 2005, when Hillsborough County commissioners voted to ban the county from participating in or acknowledging gay pride events, Redner filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city. He also dropped a bombshell by claiming he was gay in the lawsuit because he was required as the plaintiff to show a personal connection to the case.
Many around Tampa did not believe the claim, and Redner has not addressed the issue since then. The lawsuit was settled in 2007, and the county reworded the policy so it shall not "be construed to prevent citizens from exercising their First Amendment rights in an appropriate forum."
Earlier this year, Redner was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. He thinks it's from all the marijuana he's smoked over the years, a habit that he says he's quit. Radiation was successful, he said, showing a reporter before and after X-rays of a spot on his lung.
He never worried about dying, he said. People would tell him that they were praying for his recovery. His answer: don't bother.
"They say there are no atheists in foxholes," he said. "I'm one."
The only visible casualty of his illness was his long, gray ponytail; now, his hair is short. Sitting in his office at Redner Enterprises – a warehouse he shares with his son, who runs a well-known brewing company – he looks like what he is: an older businessman, albeit one who is surrounded by adult entertainment industry magazines and snapshots of his various skirmishes with local government.
He's still involved in community issues. He goes to county commission meetings and recently, stopped in to an ACLU meeting about the RNC. He's worried that protests will get out of hand and that police will use too much force on demonstrators – especially since he's letting some Occupy Tampa members camp and protest 24/7 on a private lot he owns west of downtown. Redner's been in the news for that, lately, as well; residents of the area are fed up with the campers and are worried the RNC will draw thousands of people to the neighborhood.