Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Houston Judge Shuts Down Topless Club


Dozens of planned bachelor parties in Houston will now be scrambling for a new destination. Women who have spent years perfecting their skills with a metal pole and developing a wardrobe based on plastic heels and pasties will need to find a new profession. The Penthouse Club (link not provided on this family-friendly blog), an establishment at which the entertainment chooses to take the stage without the warmth of a shirt, has been shut down by a Houston judge following repeated pleas by residents who live in the area.

More than ten years ago, the city of Houston passed a sexually oriented business ordinance. It required that businesses of a "sexual nature" obtain a license from the city and that they remain at least 1500 feet from residential areas. However, officials have encountered difficulties enforcing the law due to the creative loopholes that were quickly invented and exploited. The entrepreneurs claimed that they were running "bikini bars" or legitimate bookstores (all New York Times bestsellers, to be sure) and therefore insisted that they were exempt from compliance with the ordinance.

This great spin failed to work on District Judge Mark Davidson yesterday when he ruled in favor of a city petition against The Penthouse Club, which marks Houston's first real (albeit delayed) success with the ordinance. In addition to the owners not having the necessary license, the Penthouse is located near two churches and a school and was a magnet for prostitution and drug crimes. I guess the wholesome facade is difficult to maintain when people walking home from Sunday services observe the offering of sexual services by a woman who likely does not resemble Julia Roberts.

Are you a legitimate bikini bar just trying to show the residents of Houston some clean, wholesome fun but are being threatened with closure by the city? Have you been arrested for an unseemly activity outside one of these entertainment venues? At Bertolino LLP, we have attorneys who specialize in business litigation and criminal defense. If you need legal assistance, please contact our Austin, Houston or San Antonio today.

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