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12:23 PM: You remember Heaven, the North Beach strip club City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s been hot to shutter since July, when he said it was “a public nuisance, having allegedly violated city codes and having been cited for prostitution.”

Today Superior Court Judge Charlotte Walter Woolard granted his motion to shut it down, effective immediately. In a release sent by his office, Herrera says “Today’s ruling should send a message to other would-be operators of illegal businesses that even ‘Heaven’ is subject to temporal laws here in San Francisco…. It’s regrettable that this business chose to expend so much effort to flout the law rather than to follow it, and that a preliminary injunction was necessary to shut it down.”

Herrera’s move was actually a response to a suit Heaven filed, claiming they were the victims of unfair and selective enforcement because of their unwillingness to bribe police.

Will folks miss Heaven? Speaking of bribery, a quick scan of its one star Yelp reviews suggests otherwise. Yelper Jenni C, for example, says

i guess the deal with this place is, u just come here and get “dances” from girls without the cover or the show or any class at all. we sat around long enough to see 2 girls walk out of those rooms with clients and one of them introduced herself as “cici” motioning at her c-sized twins. then she exclaimed, “let’s see some money!”

Calls to Heaven club owner Peter Lambertson were not returned at publication time.

3:49 PM (BCN):
A judge today granted San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s motion to immediately close a North Beach strip club that allegedly violated city codes and had been cited for prostitution, according to the city attorney’s office. The civil injunction granted this morning by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Charlotte Walter Woolard is the latest development in a confrontation between San Francisco and the Heaven Mini Theatre, which sued the city last September for allegedly selectively enforcing state and local laws.

According to Herrera’s office, which filed the motion for a civil injunction in July, the club operates on the second floor above another adult establishment in violation of a city code that prohibits adult entertainment venues from operating within 1,000 feet of one another.

Additionally, the club never sought a permit authorizing commercial use and ignored repeated notices that it was in violation, the city attorney’s office stated.

Police cited a female Heaven Mini Theatre employee for prostitution in March, according to court filings. “Today’s ruling should send a message to other would-be operators of illegal businesses that even ‘Heaven’ is subject to temporal laws here in San Francisco,” Herrera said in a statement.

Greg Walston, the club’s attorney, said the court’s ruling “is so far beyond anything that judges should do.”

Walston said the decision effectively took away the club’s right to its day in court.

“In this country you’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but we’ve done away with all that,” he said. “They say skip the trial, skip the evidence, let’s just shut this thing down today before we’ve even had any opportunity to provide evidence.”

Walston said there are about 10 clubs on Columbus Avenue near Heaven, all of which are within 1,000 feet of each other, and that “the only one that gets enforced is one that doesn’t have a longstanding relationship with city officials.”

Walston said the club and owner Peter Lambertson plan to appeal the injunction but noted that the appeals process is lengthy and the club may not survive that long financially. Today’s ruling held that Heaven failed to demonstrate that it would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction were granted, according to Herrera’s office.

Herrera said that “it’s regrettable that this business chose to expend so much effort to flout the law rather than to follow it, and that a preliminary injunction was necessary to shut it down.”

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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  • somawally

    Who need strip clubs when there are beautiful women like Beth Spotswood and Melissa Griffin around?

  • somawally

    Who need strip clubs when there are beautiful women like Beth Spotswood and Melissa Griffin around?