County Attorney Vince Ryan Wins Court Order Against Treasures
County Attorney Vince Ryan today won a court order requiring Treasures to take a number of steps to ensure prostitution and drug crimes do not occur at that club. At the request of County Attorney Ryan and the City of Houston, Judge Alexandra Smoots-Hogan this afternoon issued a temporary injunction that requires Treasures, a men’s club on Westheimer, to provide more video surveillance and security guards, and to take other steps to ensure its patrons and employees comply with the law. The order came at the end of four days of testimony, including statements made by undercover Houston police officers and video surveillance.
“The judge obviously believed the video and the undercover police officers,” Ryan said.
“This is a step in the process as we use the powers of this Office to fight crime using civil court orders.”
Judge Smoots-Hogan ordered the Club to install and continuously operate another 14 video cameras in addition to the existing 12 and to provide the video to the Office of Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan every week. She also ordered random drug testing for all employees and directed Treasures to provide the results to the Office of Vince Ryan, Harris County Attorney. Dancers will be required to follow a strict dress code and were told to “keep their behinds covered.” The judge said that repeated violations of her order would be grounds for another hearing that may lead to the closing of Treasures.
The State of Texas, represented by County Attorney Ryan, and the City of Houston, represented by City Attorney David Feldman, filed suit in May 2012 asking a court to order Treasures to take steps to prevent crime from occurring on the premises. The suit alleges that Treasures does not take reasonable steps to stop prostitution and illegal drug sales. The Offices of Ryan and Feldman combined resources to file the lawsuit against Treasures which, according to testimony, is the largest men’s club in Harris County, employing more than 800 people.
“The defendants’ mantra is that the State and City are trying to close their business,” said
Ryan. “The real purpose of this lawsuit is to bring Treasures’ operation into compliance with the
law. Judge Smoot-Hogan’s order will go a long way toward ensuring that happens.”
A trial on the lawsuit is set for December. Said Ryan: “The evidence was sufficient to show our likelihood of success at the trial of this case. We have much work left to do before trial.
But when that day comes, we will be ready.”
County Attorney Ryan’s office has filed numerous suits to close illegal enterprises since 2009. The lawsuits typically are filed against operators that engage in habitual criminal activity, such as prostitution, drug dealing, and alcohol violations.