County Attorney Vince Ryan announces Treasures case returned to state court
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan announced Wednesday that Federal District Judge Lee Rosenthal has ordered the lawsuit filed by his Office and the Office of City Attorney David Feldman against Treasures be sent back to State District Court. Judge Rosenthal also ordered Treasures to pay the State and City’s attorney’s fees and expenses for their unreasonable removal from state court.
State District Judge Alexandra Smoots-Hogan ruled on Monday, September 10th, that the adult entertainment club located on Westheimer, could remain open only if it took measures to make sure its patrons and employees follow the law. The club would have been required to provide more video surveillance, drug testing and criminal back ground checks on employees, additional security personnel, and take other steps to prevent prostitution and drug sales.
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.
Before Judge Smoots-Hogan could sign her order, the club’s owners filed a notice that they were moving the case to federal court, claiming that Judge Smoots-Hogan’s order violated federal law. The City and State’s Motion contended the action to move the case to federal court was a “last ditch attempt to avoid a temporary injunction” ordered by the state court".
County Attorney Vince Ryan said, “We are committed to vigorously prosecuting the case and enforcing Judge Smoots Hogan’s orders to stop drug dealing and prostitution.”
A copy of the order of remand can be viewed at http://www.harriscountytx.gov/CmpDocuments/90/News%20Articles/Treasures%20Order%20of%20Remand.pdf.