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Taboo Gentlemen’s Club Sues Arcadia

ARCADIA – An adult cabaret, its owners and 10 dancers have filed a civil complaint against the city of Arcadia stemming from an investigation by police into code compliance.

Filed June 26 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the complaint alleges the city and police have systematically obstructed Taboo Gentlemens Club’s business and violated the rights of club staff.

“This was clearly a shakedown,” said Scott Wellman, one of Taboo’s lawyers, of the city’s enforcement actions against the club.

According to court documents, the city and police department made it “difficult or impossible” for dancers to obtain the licenses required by municipal code.

City Attorney Stephen Dietsch said he couldn’t comment on the complaint until he had finished reviewing it.

On the night of May 22, the police department turned away several dancers seeking licensure during regular business hours, the complaint alleges.

Under Arcadia Municipal Code 6701, an officer “must be available during normal working hours Monday through Friday” for processing license applications.

That Monday night, police shut down the club’s operations, and arrested owner Chowtak Jajieh and dancer Rose Garza on license violations, according to the complaint.

Although he had not seen the lawsuit, City Councilman John Wuo said the city and police have been even-handed in their treatment of the club.

“I don’t think they’d intentionally make it difficult for them to operate,” he said. “\ may be doing this so that the city will back off and not suspend their license.”

Jajieh said the arrests were not legally warranted for the alleged municipal code violations.

While officers were at Taboo, Wellman said, they unnecessarily entered the dancers’ dressing room without letting them dress, and then ordered them to change in front of them.

“They put \ in handcuffs when she basically had no clothes on and seemed to get enjoyment in doing that,” Wellman said. “I don’t think that has anything to do with code compliance.”

Wuo said he had confidence in the integrity of Arcadia’s police.

“Knowing our police department, they know what guidelines they have to follow,” he said.

The complaint seeks compensatory damages for lost income and changes to how the city licenses dancers.

In 2004, Wellman’s firm sued the city of Anaheim on behalf of another Taboo club and received a $2 million settlement.

New licensing rules went into effect July 1, raising the annual cost per dancer from $100 to $250 and requiring applicants to apply at Arcadia City Hall before going to the police department.

“They’ve made it more difficult, with less hours,” Wellman said. “And more expensive.”

Without commenting on the case, police Capt. Gene Gioia said the fee increase was warranted.

“Because of the paperwork, and the time to do the background check, and all the expenses involved,” he said. “Like everything else, fees have gone up.”

Jajieh said the city is harassing his business after doing little to communicate with him.

“I’m willing to work with you, but if you’re not willing to work with me, then don’t try to shut me down,” he said.

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