Z Bone Zone
Z Bone's Media Bites For 2008
When the traditional media wants to jack-up their ratings, where can they go for some good titillation? They go straight to the strip clubs! What LA strip club or dancer is showing up on TV or in print? Find out right here. Who knows, you just might find some interesting news here too.

Landmark strip club in West Hollywood burns

December 4, 2008

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) � A fire on Thursday burned through the roof of The Body Shop, a landmark West Hollywood strip club mentioned in a Motley Crue hit.

The blaze was reported at about 6:46 a.m. Thursday at the one-story club on Sunset Boulevard, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.
Firefighters don't believe anyone was in the building at the time of the fire and were investigating its cause.

It took about an hour to douse the fire, which was mainly confined to the attic, fire inspector Frank Garrido said. One firefighter suffered a minor injury.

The Body Shop, which has been in operation since the 1960s and bills itself as the longest running strip club in Los Angeles, is one of several clubs mentioned in the 1980s Motley Crue anthem to the strip clubs of America, "Girls, Girls, Girls."

Walking WeHo Blog pictures of fire:


Strip club, Arcadia reach accord in 2-year battle

October 11, 2008

By Alfred Lee
Pasadena Star-News Staff Writer

ARCADIA - A two-year-old legal battle between the city and a local strip club has ended in a settlement agreement, which will most likely result in the club being closed or sold off by April.

The federal court case, dating back to 2006, stems from the city's decision to revoke Taboo Gentlemen's Club's business license for breaking the city's adult business codes.

From 2004 to 2006, police say they conducted a series of inspections and undercover investigations at the club, and found repeated code violations, including simulated sexual acts and performances by unlicensed dancers.
The club's owners, Bill Badi Gammoh and Chawkat Jajieh and 10 dancers sued in response, claiming city and police had obstructed business and violated their civil rights.

As part of the settlement, the city has agreed not to shut the club down until April 1, 2009. The club has remained open pending the result of litigation. Its owners plan to close or sell their stake by then.

"Based on the cost of continued litigation and the fact that the federal judge was very interested in seeing this resolved before trial, we felt we were giving up very little," City Manager Don Penman said.

City officials also moved to make adult licenses more accessible to dancers. At Tuesday's meeting, the City Council lowered the annual cost of such licenses from $250 to $150 and made available a temporary license to dancers coming in from out of town.

"Everyone seems to be happy, including our clients," said attorney Scott Wellman, who represents Gammoh and Jajieh. "The city gets what they want, we get what we want - that's usually a pretty fair settlement."
Although stripteases and nude dancing are protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution, Arcadia has adopted strict regulations that have discouraged the more sexually explicit side of the industry.
The city's adult business ordinance prohibits lap dances, sexual contact, private dance booths and direct tipping. It also requires licensed dancers to perform on an elevated stage.

Most of those rules were broken by Taboo, the city has claimed, and its undercover investigations found the club's behavior did not improve, despite warnings over a period of two years.

"Officers observed `lap dances' in private booths from partially clothed entertainers who made sexual contact with the officers by touching the officers or by rubbing themselves against the officers, simulating oral sex or sexual intercourse," court documents stated.

The city used its ordinance to shut down another strip club, Golden Eyes, several years ago. Taboo remains the only strip club in Arcadia, Penman said.
A second court case related to the dispute had also been ongoing simultaneously, but was recently resolved at the state appeals court level. On Sept. 25, Judge Victoria Chavez upheld Arcadia's right to revoke the club's business license, rejecting an appeal filed by Taboo of an earlier Superior Court ruling.

City officials can now use that court-approved right in April, should the club try to stay open past then.

Penman credited the city's up-to-date ordinance.

"When someone wants to go into these cities that have obsolete ordinances, the constituents complain, but the cities are caught reacting and trying to update them and end up paying a lot of money to these clubs because their ordinances are not up to date," he said.

In 2004, Wellman's firm sued the city of Anaheim on behalf of another Taboo club and received a $2 million settlement. In 2007, Taboo also received a $5.2 million settlement from the city of La Habra, including a $3 million offer to buy the property.

In 1999, Arcadia officials overturned - under the threat of a lawsuit - an 11-year-old ordinance that had prevented strip clubs within 750 feet of a residential area. The older ordinance had effectively eliminated any place in the city where such clubs could open.

(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4496


Strippers sue L.A. clubs over tips, wages

June 24, 2008

By Joanna Lin
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

A group of exotic dancers has sued some of the biggest nightclubs in Los Angeles over unpaid wages and tips.

Attorney Patrick Manshardt filed the lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court on behalf of four dancers.

The suit accuses 19 clubs of violating federal and state law by not paying any wages to the dancers and forcing them to tip other club employees, such as bartenders and DJs, and give up to 50% of their tips to the clubs.

Manshardt says the clubs attempted to isolate themselves from employee wage laws by requiring the dancers to sign employee agreements as independent contractors. He says the agreements were signed under duress and are therefore void.

But Roger Diamond, an attorney who represented six of the clubs in a similar claim five years ago, says the dancers work on a freelance basis by their own volition.

"These dancers want to be treated as independent contractors," he said. "This is not a coercion thing . . . Just ask them, 'Would you rather be treated as an employee or independent contractor?' and 99.9% will tell you independent contractor; that's a guarantee."

The suit asks that the dancers receive back pay and return of all tips.



Officials: Mira Loma Gunman Robs Sports Bar, Rapes Waitress

May 10, 2008

MIRA LOMA, Calif. -- Authorities are looking for a gunman who tied up two people at a Mira Loma sports bar, raped a female employee, and robbed the business, investigators said Saturday, according to City News Service.

The attack and robbery occurred at about 2 a.m. Friday, when the woman was closing Babe's Sports Pub in the 5200 block of Etiwanda Avenue, sheriff's officials said.

A male patron of Babe's was waiting for the woman, but before she locked the door of the business, another man came in gesturing with a handgun, sheriff's officials said. The gunman had his face covered with a mask or a scarf.

The gunman tied up the woman and the male patron, and then sexually assaulted the woman, sheriff's officials said. The gunman then took cash from the register and one of the victim's cars to escape. The victims eventually freed themselves and called for help. Deputies later found the stolen car abandoned a few miles away.

The attacker was described as white or Hispanic, 5 feet 10 inches, weighing about 150 pounds, wearing a black mask or scarf on his face, black shirt and black jean-type pants, sheriff's officials said. The attacker had a deep voice with no accent.

The man remained at large Saturday, sheriff's Investigator Juan Zamora said Saturday morning. He asked anyone with information about the incident to call Investigator Travis Greiling at (951) 955-2648 or Investigator Justino Flores at 951-955- 2640.


New trial ordered on San Bernardino strip club

April 25, 2008
Los Angeles Times

The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a new trial be held to determine if the city of San Bernardino intentionally misled a judge during its battle to close down a notorious strip club that officials said was actually a brothel.

The Flesh Club closed in 1995 for nearly five years, after a judge issued an injunction banning nude dancing in the establishment. The judge used information from the city that later turned out to be wrong.

The ruling put on hold the nude cabaret's demand for $1.4 million in lost revenue.

In 1995, a city planner testified in court that there were 220 acres zoned for adult businesses in San Bernardino and said the Flesh Club could easily move from its location on Hospitality Lane, the city's premier business district. It later turned out that there were only 80 acres with the appropriate zoning. The Flesh Club reopened in 1999 after the injunction was ruled unconstitutional, but was shut down again last November.

Both sides claimed victory in Thursday's decision.

Attorney Roger Jon Diamond, who has represented the Flesh Club since 1994, said proving that the city intentionally misled the judge would be a "slam dunk."

"I think it's a mere formality to go back to trial court and establish that misstatements were made. We all know they were," he said. "We have the affidavits. We don't want people to think they can carelessly, negligently mislead a judge without any consequences."

San Bernardino City Atty. James Penman said Sandra Paulson, a former city planner who has since died, made the miscalculations.

"We will introduce her testimony," he said. "It's clear it was not intentional and that the lady acted in good faith. I think Mr. Diamond will be hard-pressed to prove it was intentional."

Even if there was 80 acres rather than 220 for adult businesses, Penman said, that was more than enough space to accommodate the Flesh Club and probably dozens of other establishments of its kind.

"Two acres would have been enough," he said. "It was never about the nude dancing for us. It was about the prostitution."

He said that whatever the outcome of the new trial, the loser is likely to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In November, after more than 14 years of city litigation against the Flesh Club, a judge issued a temporary restraining order shutting the place down for eight months.

He said there was ample evidence of widespread prostitution.

The club plans to reopen in July, Diamond said.

City officials are confident there won't be prostitution because the judge's order forbids physical contact.

"The minute a dancer tries to give a lap dance, they can be arrested immediately," said Penman.



Federal Government Finds Buyer For Vegas Strip Club

April 24, 2008
KLAS CBS Las Vegas

The federal government has finally found a buyer for the Crazy Horse Too strip club here in Las Vegas. The U.S. Marshals have refused to identify the buyers, but there are unconfirmed reports that two South Carolina men paid $30 million?for the club.

The men submitted an application for a liquor license last week.

Federal marshals seized the Crazy Horse Too last year to recoup $17 million?in fines and settlements related to former owner Rick Rizzolo's plea deal with federal authorities.

Rizzolo just finished serving his one year sentence on tax charges.


Topless club shuts its doors

March 21, 2008
Press Telegram

BELLFLOWER - The man says he'll be there "indefinitely," standing outside the building with the blue doors.

On Friday he distributed bright yellow business cards that function as a free pass and a detour to an Orange County business similar to what's no longer behind him: a strip club with an enigmatic name.

The cards, however, don't explain why Fritz That's It - the topless bar that conducted business in the city for 35 years - has closed.

"We're all pretty much in shock," said the man, an employee speaking on condition of anonymity.

Fritz's shut its doors without notice on Monday, surprising its employees, dancers and customers. Furniture was removed and employees were encouraged to apply at a sister club in Anaheim, Fritz That's Too, said the employee handing out the cards.

The employee said owner John Morrison lost his lease on the building. Calls made Thursday and Friday to Fritz That's It and Fritz That's Too seeking comment from Morrison were not returned Friday night.

City spokeswoman Lynn Komadina said the building belongs to a private owner.

The club's economic impact on the city is "negligible," she said.

Police records dating back three years show that most calls to the club were not related to activity at the business, said Lakewood Sheriff's Station Lt. Jeff Scroggin.

"To the best of our knowledge, it wasn't a big-crime area, and there has been little crime activity,"

Komadina said. Deputies dispatched at 9747 Artesia Blvd. deal mostly with transient or traffic-related issues, Scroggin said.

Vehicles pulled over by police turn into Fritz's lot, the first right turn off the Bellflower Boulevard exit from the Artesia (91) Freeway, he said.

Since November, Scroggin said his station responded to four calls at the site: two cars on separate occasions that were towed away, one strong-arm robbery and a traffic accident that happened off the freeway.

"As far a law enforcement drain, (the club) hasn't been one at all," he said. "(As for) the actual business itself, I've been here two years and can only remember one or two incidents where we've responded to a fight inside."

A part-time bartender, who didn't want to be identified out of concern of retaliation, said she was upset management didn't talk to employees before Fritz closed on Monday.

"If I was running a business with employees working there for 20-plus years, I'd have the decency to let them know they no longer have a job," she said.

"At this point," said another bartender, also speaking on condition of anonymity. "I really don't know what's behind it all. I don't know if (Morrison) didn't renew his lease or chose to just close down."



Judge signs order against strip club

March 13, 2008


SANTA FE SPRINGS -- A permanent injunction prohibiting a local strip club from offering adult entertainment at its current location was signed by a judge Wednesday, but the owners were given 30 days to stay open to seek help from an appellate court.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael C. Solner issued his order nearly a year after the filing of the lawsuit by the city last May 1. The suit contended Spicy Gentleman's Club at 12215 Slauson Ave. was a public nuisance and operating in a manufacturing zone in violation of the city code.

City officials asserted that nude dancing and other adult entertainment can only be conducted in specified commercial areas of the city.

Roger Jon Diamond, an attorney for the club, had asked that the ruling be put on hold pending the outcome of an appeal of Solner?s ruling, or for a 30-day stay so that a longer hold could be sought from the appellate court.

Solner chose the shorter stay and said the adult entertainment must be ceased at Spicy?s by April 14 if no stay is issued by the appellate court.

Deborah J. Fox, an attorney for the city, praised the ruling.

?Spicy?s was certainly effective in dragging out the case ... but we now have a signed order and we?re looking forward to enforcement of it,? Fox said.

Judges typically act cautiously when acting on First Amendment cases, Fox said.

Last July, Solner issued a preliminary injunction ordering the club to stop offering adult entertainment as of 2 a.m. July 4. But the 2nd District Court of Appeal issued a stay on July 3, blocking the preliminary injunction and allowing nude and lap dancing to continue pending the outcome of the trial.

During a subsequent non-jury trial of the suit, Diamond said his client knew he was operating his business in the wrong zone, but chose to do so to test the constitutionality of the ordinance. Diamond told Solner it is more important for the club to be as far away as possible from sensitive locations than for it to be in a proper zone. He also maintained the club has a vested right to stay in its current location.

But Fox scoffed at Diamond?s remarks about a vested right, saying the club owners originally applied to open the location as a restaurant and made a ?middle of the night change? to offer adult entertainment.

She said there were 18 potential sites in the city where Spicy?s could have operated within the law.


JOB CLASSIFICATION: Stripper lawsuit gets OK

February 1, 2008


CARSON CITY -- The state Supreme Court handed a victory Thursday to an Arizona lawyer who wants Las Vegas strippers classified as club employees and paid wages by the owners of clubs where they work.

Many of the estimated 10,000 strippers in Las Vegas pay a fee to dance at clubs and sign agreements classifying themselves as independent contractors. They receive no pay or benefits and earn only tips.

Justices ruled 3-0 that lawyer Mick Rusing can bring a class-action lawsuit on behalf of strippers seeking to change that arrangement.

"This is going to force employers to stop living off the backs of these women," said Sean Brearcliffe, a lawyer at Rusing's firm. "Some of the clubs don't pay them anything and force them to pay as much as $50 to $100 per hour out of their tips. Nevada law does not let employers take tips earned by their employees."

Brearcliffe, who worked with Rusing on the case, said that in coming months he plans to file a class-action lawsuit in District Court to force strip clubs to hire dancers as they do other employees.

If a class-action lawsuit succeeds, it will allow dancers to keep their tips and receive wages, Brearcliffe said. Clubs will have to raise revenue through higher entrance fees, drink prices and other means if his law firm persuades a judge to prohibit the independent contractor arrangement, he said.

Inside the Spearmint Rhino topless club in Las Vegas, some dancers said they do not support a move to become club employees. They prefer, the strippers said, to work as independent contractors.

One dancer, who said her name is Nicole, said she makes more money now than she ever would on an hourly wage.

Clad in a tight black T-shirt, black stockings and a mini-skirt that covered only the top of her backside, Nicole asked: "Why would I want to make six dollars an hour when I can make $500 an hour now?"

Another stripper, who declined to give her name, said dancers aren't the type of employee who works 9 to 5. She explained that half of the strippers working at the club are from out of town.

"Some of them don't work every day. It's not a regular job," she said.

Judges and labor commissioners in Texas and Florida have thrown out the independent contractor agreements dancers signed with strip clubs, Brearcliffe said. His firm won a favorable decision for strippers in California.

The firm has been trying since 2000 to secure approval to represent Las Vegas strippers in a class-action lawsuit.

Brearcliffe said strippers will be notified of the litigation and their right to participate if his law firm brings action against the clubs where they work. A dancer automatically will be considered part of the litigation unless she signs an agreement that she is "opting out" of the case, Brearcliffe said.

The firm would represent the strippers on a contingency-fee basis.

Many dancers have been reluctant to join the litigation out of fear of retaliation from club owners, he said.

In oral arguments before the Supreme Court in September, Girls of Glitter Gulch lawyer Mario Lovato argued that dancers prefer being independent contractors. He said they take home hundreds of dollars in tips a night and do not have to tell clubs what they are earning.

If clubs had to pay dancers wages and benefits, they would be required by law to keep track of their tips, he added.

His response prompted Justice Mark Gibbons to wonder aloud whether dancers preferred the current arrangement because they could avoid paying taxes on all of the tips they receive.

Brearcliffe said there is no evidence that strippers have not paid taxes.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Rusing, Brearcliffe's colleague, has found a client -- a legal secretary who moonlighted as a Girls of Glitter Gulch stripper -- who is an adequate representative of strippers as a class.

Any case brought on her and other strippers' behalf must be considered under the state's Nevada Wage and Hour Law, which prohibits employers from using tips as credit against the $5.85-per-hour minimum wage, according to the decision.

Glitter Gulch had argued such cases should be considered under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows employers to use tips as a credit against employee wages.

The decision overturns a ruling by then-District Judge Nancy Saitta, now a Supreme Court justice. She did not participate in the decision Thursday.

Saitta had thrown out the case on the grounds the "Jane Doe" whom Rusing sought to use as his client was not an adequate representative of strippers as a class. The woman worked as a secretary to the attorney son of former Supreme Court Justice Cliff Young.

During the hearing before the Supreme Court, Lovato said the secretary had signed a five-page agreement with Glitter Gulch that deemed her an independent contractor and not an employee. She also filed a federal income tax return in which she identified her stripping career as a business.

Lovato contended Rusing has been looking for five years for strippers willing to bring lawsuits against Glitter Gulch and other clubs but could not find any.

Brearcliffe said Thursday that they have not had trouble finding strippers willing to participate in litigation. But he acknowledged that in some instances, strippers moved away from Nevada and no longer wanted to be involved in litigation.

They have waited for a ruling from the Supreme Court allowing them to represent strippers as a class before filing additional lawsuits, he said. Otherwise they would have had to bring cases on behalf of individual strippers.

Contact reporter Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or (775) 687-3901. Review-Journal writer Antonio Planas contributed to this report.


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