January 01, 2009
RIP, Penthouse Club

Back in September, the city won a temporary injunction against The Penthouse Club, as part of a wider effort to sue a bunch of strip clubs out of business on the grounds that they represent public nuisances. That injunction has now been made permanent.

[Tuesday's] ruling, issued by outgoing State District Judge Caroline Baker, is permanent. The location will be shut down as any kind of business for the next year, and as real estate, the location can never again be used as a sexually oriented business, no matter who the owner is, the ruling states.

I'm not sure what the point is of requiring the location to be fallow for a year. Seems to me that has a fair amount of potential for being a nuisance as well. Be that as it may, this is another big win for the city in its decade-plus war on strip clubs. The Penthouse Club was one of four establishments that the city sued as part of this tactic; as far as I know, it's the only one to have been closed, temporarily or otherwise. I don't know what the other clubs are or what the disposition of their legal cases are, but I suspect that one of Mayor White's legacies when he leaves office in a year will be fewer such places operating than when he came in. I'll leave it to you whether you consider that a positive development or not.

UPDATE: From the updated version of the story:

Now, the city intends to file a massive lawsuit this month using similar measures to close 30 to 40 of the businesses at once.

Police and city officials believe as many as 120 sexually-oriented businesses in Houston may be operating against the law, although about a dozen have obtained a legal permit.

Better plan that bachelor party now, while you still can.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 01, 2009 to Local politics

If they are operating illegally, I can understand why the city wants to go after them. But is it really an effort to shut down even the ones operating legally? And if so, what is the impetus for it? Is there alot of crime nearby or something? Maybe I am living in a bubble, but I can hardly believe a city would go to such trouble just on the "morals" issue.

Posted by: hope on January 1, 2009 1:12 PM

Shutting down businesses that generate revenue for the City via takings of dubious constitutionality. Of course, no public official wants to go to bat for the titty bars, so only the club owners fight this garbage.

Posted by: freddyrun on January 2, 2009 8:01 PM

First a few things that should be said here. The mayors son has been to these establishments was he punished or maybe daddy found out so he punished the business. Bart Jones AKA Mr. Hypocrit has also been to an all nude club 2 blocks closer to his home yet does not file a complaint against them. It is also too far and too dangerous for him to walk his kids down to Westheimer too pass these businesses so who is he kidding. There are plenty of hard working people in these clubs supporting their kids and spending the money they make in many other types of businesses such as restraunts,movies,department stores,car dealerships,apartments,homes,nail and hair salons,grocery stores,jewelry stores etc. so who is the real loser? How about the taxes paid by these businesses? This paticular club pays over $400,000.00 a year in taxes now add up all the clubs and where does the city make up this money? Maybe by raising your property taxes and who paid for all of this you and you will continue to pay as Mayor WHite continus to seek publicity to try and gain votes for his future carrer in politics. Who is next on his list? Hooters because the girls where short shorts and skin tight shirts to show off there assets. How about all the arrests lately in the HISD are they a nuisance? How about the schools with metal detectors should they be closed because of all the problems with weapons and drugs found there? There are more calls to the police department for drugs at Robert E Lee High School than at this establishment. How about all the shootings at Coco Loco but the city does not find them a nuisance. How about all the taquerias who serve alchohol 24 hours a day because they pay off plice officers. The taqueria that is in front of this club serves all night as long as you speak spanish, but I guess this is the clubs fault. How about the fact that the club has been there over 25 years long before most of these business, regardless of the name on the outside. This seems to be a place where church and state have overstepped there boundaries and are taking away the rights to free speech and property ownership.

Posted by: robbed on January 6, 2009 11:37 PM
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