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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.

Controversial strip club reopens as restaurant with topless dancers

March 12, 2009

By CHRIS RICHARD, The Press-Enterprise

Starting today, San Bernardino's Flesh Club will revise its name and its carnal menu, giving up nude dancers for the right to sell cheeseburgers and beer.

The future of the former strip cabaret, on the city's family-oriented Hospitality Lane, has been in doubt since November 2007, when a judge punished the business for allowing lewd conduct by ordering it to cease all adult-oriented activities for eight months.

After the order expired, the club's owners kept the business closed while they sought a liquor license for beer, wine and spirits.

The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board granted a restaurant/bar license on Monday, agency spokesman John Carr said.

Instead of naked performers, the business now called Flesh Showgirls will have topless dancers, club attorney Roger Jon Diamond said.

State law doesn't allow an all-nude establishment to sell alcohol.

Sitting beside the black, horseshoe-shaped bar on Thursday afternoon, General Manager Troy Neptune smiled ruefully at his half-finished copy of "The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope."

"I don't think I'll ever get it finished," he said. "I'm going to be pretty busy."
City Attorney Jim Penman, who has battled the cabaret more than a dozen years at a cost of more than $500,000, said police will keep a close eye on the establishment. The fight has reached the U.S. Supreme Court, though the justices refused to hear the case.

On Thursday, Neptune said much of the club's décor -- black paint, mirrored walls and a 10-foot-wide dancer's platform -- remain unchanged.

The owners spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a full restaurant kitchen. Bar tables and stools replaced couches.
For now, the former VIP room is closed. When city officials sued the Flesh Club under the state Red Light Abatement Law, private investigators and dancers testified about frequent prostitution and several dancers said they maintained price lists for sex acts performed in that room.
In closing the club, San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Donald Alvarez ruled that when it reopens, it must remove all obstructions to visibility into private booths and the VIP room.

Now, there are no booths. Neptune said he hopes eventually to use the VIP room -- now a storage space -- as a pool room while still complying with visibility rules.
The ABC board put 19 conditions on the license, including a requirement that topless dancers stay at least six feet from the nearest patron. The license, which permits selling wine, beer and hard liquor, stipulates that alcohol sales must not exceed food receipts, records show.

Penman predicted the club won't be able to meet the food-sale standard.

"Most of the restaurants in town make good money with families coming in to eat, and they're not going to have families coming in to eat with topless dancers," Penman said.

Neptune said other topless establishments operate under the same liquor board restrictions. He's confident Flesh Showgirls can, too.

The menu offers sandwiches, chicken dishes and Tex-Mex food. The most expensive item is $10. Beer will be about $6 a pitcher, he said.

Outside the club, passersby said they wish it had stayed closed.

Ashley Dietz, an office assistant at an accounting firm across the street, said she'll be more wary when she has to work late. Such businesses tend to attract hostile men, she said.

"Places like that are everywhere," she said. "But they have rights, too, and there's nothing we can do about it."

Reach Chris Richard at 951-368-9529 or crichard@PE.com


Topless bar owner sues city over police search

March 5, 2009

By CRAIG TENBROECK, Staff Writer, North County Times

OCEANSIDE -- The owner of the Main Attraction, Oceanside's only topless night club, has sued the city and one of its police detectives, accusing them of harassing the business.

In a complaint filed last month in San Diego Superior Court, club owner Gene Edick claims the city's "outrageous conduct" ---- from a police search last March to a code enforcement citation over neon lighting ---- has hurt business and caused him emotional distress.

City Attorney John Mullen denied the allegations. He said in an e-mail this week that "the city has not restricted the strip club's business activities in any way."

Fronted by palm trees, the Main Attraction is across the street from the California Welcome Center, on a stretch of North Coast Highway considered Oceanside's northern gateway.

When the city bought and closed another strip joint ---- the Playgirl Club ---- in 2002, The Main Attraction became the only such business in Oceanside. City officials have talked informally over the years about a possible purchase, but nothing has panned out.

"They want too much money," City Councilman Jack Feller said. "I haven't heard any discussion about it in some years."

Feller, no fan of the club, said it wouldn't bother him at all "if churches decided to protest in front of it." But the city hasn't been targeting the owner, he said.

The club's 12-page complaint, filed by Edick and his company, Brogdon Properties, claims police locked down the Main Attraction on March 14 "without probable cause due to an inadequate and tainted search warrant."

It accuses the city of accessing private business records, disseminating "trade secret" information and making false allegations of misconduct. Details in the complaint are few.

Edick filed a damage claim last year for at least $250,000, which the city rejected.

"We absolutely have no comment," said Josh Kaplan, the nightclub's attorney.

According to the search warrant affidavit filed last year, police received a citizen complaint that someone was selling drugs at the club. Undercover detectives twice obtained a single painkiller from a bartender, prompting police to argue there was "probable cause" to believe more evidence of drugs and drug paraphernalia would be found at the club.

Superior Court Judge Joan Weber signed the search warrant March 7.

Police arrested the employee, who later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of furnishing a drug without a prescription, court records show. She was put on a year's probation.

The club's lawsuit accuses the city of trespassing, harassment, invasion of privacy, infliction of emotional distress and interference with economic advantage. It claims Detective Brent Keys "failed to state significant exculpatory evidence and was materially false" in the affidavit.

The complaint did not elaborate on those allegations.

Keys did not return a call for comment. A police spokesman referred questions to the city attorney.

Contact staff writer Craig TenBroeck at (760) 901-4062 or ctenbroeck@nctimes.com.


Flesh Club apparently loses appeal of shutdown order

March 4, 2009

By Wesley G. Hughes, Staff Writer, San Bernardino Sun

San Bernardino's widely known nude cabaret the Flesh Club appears to have lost its appeal of a court order shutting it down.

In a tentative ruling, the state's 4th District Court of Appeal upheld the ruling that padlocked the club and assessed a $25,000 fine of Manta Management Corp., which operated the club at 100 W. Hospitality Lane.

Manta based its appeal on the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of expression.

No date has been set for final arguments. The hearing date will be announced about 30 days in advance.

Citing the U.S. Supreme Court, the ruling says that a "red light abatement action, which only incidentally affects free speech or expressive activity has no First Amendment implications."

In calls to the three attorneys involved in the case, City Attorney James F. Penman said, "I agree with the court's analysis in the intended decision." Penman has long been a foe of the cabaret.

Joseph Arias, the attorney hired by the city to press its case, said, "(The ruling) is absolutely correct."

Roger Jon Diamond, who represented the Flesh Club, declined to comment on ethical grounds.

Consistent with the ruling on red light abatement, the appellate ruling said, "The majority of what the (lower) court described as lewd acts are those which took place between dancers and customers, including sexual intercourse, oral sex and masturbation of customers by dancers. These acts, although described by the court as `lewd acts,' legally are prostitution."

One former dancer testified she had sexual intercourse with nearly every customer and that she made about $1,000 a day.

The tentative appellate ruling further said, "Accordingly, based on the court's finding in this case that lewd activities which amount to prostitution were a routine and ongoing part of the Flesh Club's business activities, the order closing the club temporarily as a sanction to abate the nuisance does not violate Manta's First Amendment right to present erotic entertainment."

(909) 386-3894


Strip club zoning battle ends quietly

March 2, 2009

By Airan Scruby, Staff Writer, Whittier Daily News

PICO RIVERA - A fight over where to allow strip clubs and other adult businesses in the city is over, officials said.

After a public hearing last week the City Council voted to change its zoning ordinance controlling adult businesses. No one came forward to speak at the hearing.

"I'm not an advocate of these types of businesses, but I'm glad that we're doing this," Mayor Gracie Gallegos said. She said the change will control the locations of businesses to protect children while also protecting the constitutional rights of business owners.

The new ordinance prohibits adult businesses from locating within 1,000 feet of each other, or within 150 feet of a school or residential zone.

The new policy will open up space for strip clubs and other adult businesses on the north side of parts of Slauson Avenue, and portions of Bermudez Street and Industry Avenue.

City Manager Chuck Fuentes said city staffers took their time working out the new ordinance in an effort to personalize it for the community. While most cities with adult business zoning ordinances require a 500 foot separation from residential zones, Pico Rivera's existing neighborhoods made this impossible.
"If we were to go to the standard, which is 500 feet, we wouldn't be able to build anywhere," Fuentes said. "That was one of the issues that confounded us. We did a lot of study."

Controversy about the existence of adult businesses in the city began when
Imperial Showgirls moved into a commercial shopping center on Slauson Avenue. Outraged residents picketed the business daily for several months in 2002.

The city created zoning rules to try and restrict the new club, which led the owners to sue the city that year.

The suit produced a 2004 court ruling that the city's policies were too restrictive and therefore violated the rights of club owners. According to Deputy Community Development Director Julia Gonzales, the overturned ordinance required that adult businesses be 1,000 feet from residential areas, almost impossible in Pico Rivera.

As part of a compromise, Councilman Ron Beilke said, the club agreed to close its doors after September in exchange for operating free of restriction in the meantime. The owners of that business can never open another like it in the city, according to the agreement.

Once that business closes, its location will not be eligible for another adult business, under the new ordinance.

Calls to Imperial Showgirls were not returned.

"They ran, for the most part, a very efficient business in that we have not had a lot of police calls to that location," Beilke said. "They have not impacted us like we feared."

Fuentes said he worries that a new business that could come to the city in the future may not be as cooperative and safe as Imperial Showgirls.

"They've been model corporate citizens," Fuentes said.

He said that while there have been a few inquiries about establishing another adult business in the city, none seem likely to move in soon.

"It seems like Pico Rivera is just big enough to be a one-strip club city," Beilke said.

According to Beilke, the new ordinance is part of an effort to be better prepared in the event that another adult business is introduced in Pico Rivera.
"What we did was what we should have done five or six years ago, and then we wouldn't have one of these businesses opening next to a McDonald's," Beilke said.

(562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029


Santa Fe Springs strip club gives up fight

February 19, 2009

By Sandra T. Molina, Staff Writer, Whittier Daily News

SANTA FE SPRINGS - The long and pricey legal battle between the city of Santa Fe Springs and the owner of a local gentlemen's club has ended.

City officials are calling it a victory despite the $200,000 price tag for legal fees.

"It's a culmination of a long, drawn-out process," said City Manager Fred Latham.

The owner of Spicy Gentlemen's Club, 12215 E. Slauson Ave., decided not to pursue an appeal of an appellate court's decision blocking him from conducting adult entertainment - nude and lap dancing.

The injunction said the club violated city code by operating in a manufacturing zone and was a public nuisance.

"Edwin Kwong was aware of the deadline but decided not to further pursue the case," his attorney, Roger Jon Diamond, said Thursday.

Kwong had until Feb. 17 to file an appeal to the California State Supreme Court of the lower court's decision.

An injunction issued last year by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael C. Solner ordered Kwong to stop nude and lap dancing.

Last April the appellate court denied Diamond's request to stay the injunction until it ruled on the appeal.

"We are very happy that the injunction will hold," Latham said.

He said the ruling backs the city's right to say where certain establishments are allowed to conduct business.

"It is not the club owner's right to set zoning laws, but the city's right," Latham said.

Diamond maintained throughout the legal battle that the city's zoning regulations are unconstitutional because they do not realistically provide for adult businesses.

"It was never about not allowing adult entertainment in the city," Latham said.
The Holiday strip club has operated on Norwalk Boulevard, which is zoned for adult entertainment, since the mid-1980s.

Spicy opened in July 2006.

The basis for Diamond's appeal was that the city misrepresented itself, saying there is plenty of space available in the correct zone.

Deborah Fox, attorney for the city, said her client provided well-documented evidence of at least 18 places the club could legally do business.

Diamond is not sure of his client's plans for the business.

However, he did say the city would be better served to let Spicy operate in the industrial area.

"The way the zoning is now, an adult entertainment club could be placed next to an ice cream parlor or bicycle shop," Diamond said. "The zoning doesn't make sense."

(562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028


Exotic Dancer Set On Fire Outside Nightclub

February 5, 2009


TARZANA -- Los Angeles police said an exotic nightclub dancer was set on fire Thursday and suffered with burns across over 60 percent of her body.

The crime, which occurred at about 1:30 a.m., happened outside the Babes & Beer nightclub at 18454 Oxnard St., said Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Michel Moore.

According to officials, the 27-year-old woman was summoned outside the nightclub "to meet with two acquaintances," and was then doused with some kind of flammable liquid and set on fire. She managed to get back inside the bar for help.

Moore said, "these are two individuals that, in a very violent manner, attack this young woman with no ... provocation."

He added, "there's really no justification for this."

The suspects took off in a gold-metallic newer-model four-door sedan.

The victim, who is in critical condition, has two young children, Moore said. Her name was not released.

Detectives released the names and photos of the wanted man and woman, identified as Nathaniel Petrillo, 22, and 27-year-old Rianne Theriault-Odom.

What prompted the attack was not immediately disclosed. The woman involved in the attack is reported to have worked at the bar.

Moore said witness statements helped to identify the suspects.

Anyone knowing their whereabouts was urged to call Homicide detectives at (213) 485-2531. To reach a detective after hours or on weekends, call 1-877-LAPD-24-7 or text CRIMES (274637) and begin the message with the letters LAPD. All tips are anonymous. Tips can also be submitted on the LAPD website.


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