Eight months ago, the city of Houston succeeded in closing down a strip club, its first such victory after finally getting a favorable verdict in the lawsuit to overturn the 1997 ordinance that more strictly regulated sexually-oriented businesses. They're now hunting more game.
Lawyers for the city filed a lawsuit Friday to close a Galleria-area topless club for not having a sexually oriented business license, the beginning of a City Hall crackdown on dozens of unlicensed clubs across Houston.
The lawsuit followed the arrest Thursday evening of nine employees of All Stars Men's Club, 2688 Winrock, including six dancers charged with solicitation of prostitution.
The suit asks 113th District Judge Patricia Hancock to issue a permanent injunction, arguing the club would not qualify for a required license because it is located 800 feet from a church and is closer than 1,500 feet to an area more than 75 percent residential.
"This is part of a bigger effort by the White administration to use the powers that are available to the city to protect and improve the quality of life in the city's neighborhoods," said private attorney Patrick Zummo, who was hired by the city to help enforce its sexually oriented business ordinance.
"We are working on another lawsuit that would include many of those businesses that are operating illegally, and which will probably be filed in the next couple of weeks."
"We know from both Houston's experience, and the experience in cities across the country, that sexual oriented-businesses are associated with higher rates of crime in the area around them and with lower property values," Zummo said. "That's why the federal courts allow reasonable regulation of these businesses."