Cheetahs nude club. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Cheetahs nude club. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The revocation of the nude entertainment permit of Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club in Kearny Mesa was upheld by an appellate court, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

A three-justice panel ruled in the city’s favor on several legal points brought up by lawyers for the licensee of the strip club, Suzanne Coe.

She claimed the city’s municipal code language was unconstitutionally vague and that evidence presented by the city was inadmissible. The justices also found that Coe was not deprived of due process rights when the city allowed violations to accumulate before a warning letter was sent because she was repeatedly warned of unlawful activity in the club.

“The illegal conduct by Cheetahs was extensively documented and four judges have now reached the same conclusion — that the city is acting legally by denying a permit to a business that cannot or will not follow the law,” City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said.

Strip clubs are required by the city to observe a 6-foot distance between entertainers and patrons, and not allow physical contact. In revoking the permit two years ago, the city alleged that numerous police officers observed instances of close contact.

Some violations occurred when no security guard was present, court documents said. Others occurred when a security guard was present, but the security guard did not intervene. Still others happened when a security guard was there and intervened, but then allowed the adult entertainer to continue with the violating conduct, the documents said.

The court records showed the permit was suspended by the city in 2006 and 2012. A year later, Coe hired a security consultant, improved lighting, posted a security guard in the corridor between private dance rooms, installed monitors in the private dance rooms to allow for remote observation and correction of violating conduct through an intercom system, used secret shoppers to check for compliance, and posted rules on walls of bathrooms and dressing rooms.

She also began keeping track of dancers and used a progressive discipline policy against ones who violated the rules.

Judith McConnell, presiding justice of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, wrote that the steps were “ineffective” and the business’ staff had a “monetary incentive” to ignore violations.

Coe challenged the 2014 revocation in court, and Cheetahs remains in business, billing itself as San Diego’s premier all-nude strip club.

–City News Service