San Diego within rights to close Cheetahs, judge tentatively rules

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SAN DIEGO — The city of San Diego did not act improperly when it revoked the nude entertainment license of a strip joint that was at the heart of a political scandal that led to the indictment of three City Council members, according to a tentative court ruling.

Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp, in a tentative ruling issued Thursday, said that there were “numerous and continuing violations” of municipal code rules against nude dancers getting too close to patrons at Cheetahs Totally Nude establishment, Los Angeles Times reported.

Dancers at the club continually violated the “six-foot, no-touch and no-fondling rules,” Trapp ruled in rejecting a claim by the club owner Suzanne Coe. The six-foot rule is meant to keep the dancers away from patrons.

Cheetahs has remained open as Coe appealed the city’s decision to revoke the club’s nude entertainment permit. Coe can also appeal Trapp’s decision if, as expected, Trapp makes the ruling permanent at a hearing set for Friday.

A decade ago, after a two-year undercover investigation by the FBI and the U.S. attorney, council members Michael Zucchet, Ralph Inzunza, and Charles Lewis were indicted on charges of receiving campaign contributions from Cheetahs employees in exchange for promising to work to repeal the local laws that are meant to keep naked dancers at a distance from patrons.

The investigation included wiretaps, an informant wearing a wire, and a raid on City Hall offices.

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