Fate of strip club remains in judge's hands

September 7, 2012 3:51:11 PM PDT
A Galleria area strip club is locked in a court battle that will determine if it should be shut down. The city and county both have accused Treasures of being a haven for prostitution, human trafficking, and drug use. Both sides were back in front of a judge on Friday.

The defense was putting on its case until late in the afternoon, trying to prove it has taken appropriate steps to curb illegal activity in the club.

Attorneys for the city and county played surveillance video showing the entrance at Treasures. They point out more than one dancer that particular day partially exposed -- an apparent violation, they say, of the strip club's own policy against showing certain portions of the body.

Plaintiff's attorney Fred Keys, Jr., said, "If you're seeing this at the front door, you can imagine what's taking place inside."

Keys notes that even managers who saw the dress didn't appear to stop the dancers.

The city and county are trying to prove that Treasures is a place where prostitution and drugs run rampant. They want a judge to deem it a public nuisance in order to shut it down. KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy says that is not likely.

"The purpose of this lawsuit is to scare them into compliance, is to force Treasures to comply more with the law," Androphy said. "That's all this is about."

Testifying for the defense on Friday was a waitress who has worked at Treasures for the last year. In that time she says she has never seen prostitution.

She did testify however that on several occasions, "A dancer would get too close to a customer and start rubbing inappropriately."

The waitress says she would report it to a manager and that the customer would be removed and the dancer fired. She says the club has a strict policy on prostitution and drug use. The city and county claim 43 arrests dating back to 2008 prove a history of illegal activity there.

Attorneys for Treasures presented several forms that dancers have to sign showing they acknowledge they can be terminated for anything illegal including prostitution or drugs while on the job. They say they have taken this and other steps in order to limit such activity.

If the judge doesn't believe this and considers it a nuisance, she can shut Treasures down.


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