"Treasures has it coming, 'bout time," former Houston Chronicle reporter stripper Sarah Tressler tweeted late Wednesday night on her Angry Stripper account, hours after city and county attorneys filed a suit against the prominent Galleria-area gentlemen's club.
Tressler also tweeted a sarcastic "Riiight" next to a quote about Treasures denying that prostitution, human trafficking and narcotics violations are taking place at the club.
Harris County attorney Vince Ryan and Houston city attorney David Feldman are attempting to close the strip club for its alleged promotion of drugs and prostitution. "Treasures knowingly tolerates the activity and fails to make reasonable attempts to abate the activities," they charged in court documents.
The attorneys list more that 40 reported crimes that occurred at the club since 2008 and allege that the strip club's owners and employees "are engaged in gang related organized criminal activities" and that "human trafficking regularly occurs." The constant criminal activity, they claim, creates a public nuisance for the surrounding communities.
"It's common knowledge that the dancers travel around the country to events like the OTC and Mardi Gras," club attorney Al Van Huff said. " There's a sort of circuit, but that's not human trafficking."
"There's no human trafficking at Treasures . . . That's absolutely ridiculous," the club's lawyer Al Van Huff told CultureMap in a phone interview. "It's common knowledge that the dancers travel around the country to events like the OTC [Offshore Technology Conference] and Mardi Gras.
"There's a sort of circuit, but that's not human trafficking."
He brushed aside allegations of gang-related activity, as well, saying Treasures "is a nice, upscale club and the owners would never tolerate gangs at the place."
The city's view is much different.
"They masquerade as legitimate businesses, but these high-end strip clubs like Treasures really are hubs of human trafficking," city attorney David Feldman told the Houston Chronicle. "We are hopeful that with this action, we serve notice not only on Treasures, but the other clubs out there that Houston-Harris County is not going to put up with this type of criminal activity."
Van Huff says that the 40-plus crimes listed by city and country attorneys have led to very few convictions, adding that the nightclub generates more than $20 million a year in taxable revenue and employs 1,000 dancers as well as 100 waitresses and bartenders.
"Let's just say that 40 alleged violations in four years — that's 10 annually or less than one a month — does not a nuisance make," Van Huff said. "One violation a month would mean that any club in town, regardless of whether it's a gentlemen's club or not, would be shut down if that were the case."