San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed court papers to shut down a North Beach strip club he says is a public nuisance, having allegedly violated city codes and having been cited for prostitution.
Herrera’s motion for a civil injunction comes after the Heaven Mini Theater sued the city last September for allegedly selectively enforcing state and local laws.
The attorney for Heaven Mini Theater today dismissed the effort to close the club as politically motivated.
According to Herrera’s office, the club operates on the second floor above another adult establishment, in violation of a city code against adult entertainment venues operating within 1,000 feet of one another.
The club further never sought a permit authorizing commercial use and ignored repeated notices it was in violation, Herrera’s office said.
Police cited a female Heaven Mini Theater employee for prostitution in March, according to court filings.
“Naming a business ‘Heaven’ doesn’t place it beyond earthly laws and regulations, but that appears to be exactly what the operators of this illicit enterprise think,” Herrera said in a statement announcing today’s action.
Herrera said the club “has no intention of obeying the law in San Francisco, and the court ordered injunction I’m seeking is necessary to shut it down.”
The club’s attorney Greg Walston called Herrera’s action “a politically motivated ploy.”
“They’re the smallest club in town, and the most convenient to prosecute, if they’re going to make an example of someone,” he said.
Walston maintained the club has obtained a business permit.
As to the allegation of operating within 1,000 feet of another adult venue, Walston said there were several other local clubs that do the same thing.
“If you want to enforce that against Heaven, you have to enforce that against everyone else on Columbus and Broadway,” he said.
Herrera also cited an April 9 shooting outside the nearby Broadway Showgirls nightclub–allegedly by a Heaven employee–that left two doormen injured.
“If there’s two clubs across the street that are shooting at each other, where is the district attorney?” Walston asked.
“No one was charged in the shooting, because there was absolutely no shooter identified,” district attorney’s office spokeswoman Erica Derryck responded today.
According to court filings, another Showgirls doorman who was also outside when the shooting occurred told police he had had an altercation with a Heaven employee both the week before and earlier that day, and had been threatened by him.
Police said the Showgirls doorman said he didn’t see the shooter, but was “very adamant” it was the Heaven employee.
“The implication of an establishment in a pattern of unlawful conduct, even where there is not a criminal conviction, is germane to establishing a public nuisance in civil court,” Herrera spokesman Matt Dorsey said.