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Strip Club Magnate Frank Colacurcio Sr. Dies at 93 – No Surprise Since Fed Harassment Is What Did It

Seattle- from Frank Colacurcio, Sr., who led a local strip-club empire and was painted by law enforcement as the Pacific Northwest’s own organized crime figure, died Friday.

Colacurcio, 93, had most recently been under indictment on racketeering charges stemming from massive law enforcement investigation into prostitution inside his well-known clubs, including Rick’s on Lake City Way. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle confirmed that it was notified Friday that Colacurcio had died.

Just last week, Colacurcio Sr.’s son pleaded guilty to charges related to a years-long prostitution and racketeering probe. Under a plea agreement, Frank Jr. will be sentenced to one year in prison in September. He pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering.

Entering the plea following lengthy negotiations, Frank Colacurcio, Jr., joined four other men associated with his father who’ve pleaded guilty to federal charges related to allegations of prostitution at the Seattle-area strip club chain. Frank Sr. had been the sole remaining defendant.

The case wound up as law enforcement’s last stab at Colacurcio, whose was in and out of their grasp for six decades. Despite convictions for racketeering and tax evasion, Frank Sr. shrugged off claims that he was involved in the Mafia or a homegrown organized crime syndicate.

“The mafia, all that talk, it’s a farce,” he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2003. “The opinions of my family and me, let’s look where all that started: Someone who had nothing invented something and made lies.”

At the time of that interview, Frank Jr. and his associates were under scrutiny for illegal campaign contributions to three city councilmembers during the infamous Strippergate scandal.

Colacurcio, the eldest son of nine children, was born to immigrants from southern Italy, according to the 2003 P-I. The story, by P-I reporter Lewis Kamb, reported that “he grew up working his father’s vegetable farm on land where Boeing Field lies today. During the Great Depression, he ditched school for good in eighth grade, striking out to ‘work and do what I could’ to support the family.”

He worked as a butcher, on farms and as a truck driver. He then took a job at an Everett pulp mill, according to the story.

Colacurcio’s first troubles with the law came in 1943, when he was convicted of having sex with an underage girl. His attorney was Al Rosellini, who later became governor.

After he was released from prison, Colacurcio got involved in the vending business, installing cigarette machines, jukeboxes and pinball machines in local taverns and clubs. He wound up taking over several clubs to which he had loaned money and couldn’t pay.

At one of the those clubs, the Firelite Lounge at the Moore Hotel — now the Nitelite — is where nude dancing began in Seattle in 1958, according to the story. In 1968, he was found guilty of punching and kicking a former bartender at the club.

Colacurcio’s expanded his businsesses during the seedier days of Seattle’s past, when cops and city officials took pay-offs to give a pass to illegal card rooms and bingo parlors.

In 1981, he was convicted of filing false tax returns and skimming tens of thousands of dollars in nightly receipts from two King County topless bars. In 1991, he and his son were convicted of filing false tax returns and skimming profits from topless clubs in Alaska. After he got out of federal prison, Frank Sr. would be sent back for probation violations after he fondled a young woman seeking employment at Talents West, the small office on Lake City Way from which his businesses were managed.


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