Herrera Moves to Close Down ‘Heaven’

Lawless North Beach Strip Club and Prostitution Venue Has Repeatedly Defied Notices of Violation, Cease and Desist Orders

SAN FRANCISCO (July 22, 2009) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today moved to shutter a notorious North Beach strip club that has continued to operate in defiance of repeated City notices of violation, cease and desist orders, and police citations for prostitution dating back more than a year. In his pleading filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, Herrera petitioned Judge Charlotte Walter Woolard to declare the Heaven Mini Theatre at 1054 Kearny Street a public nuisance for operating in violation of state and local laws, and to issue a preliminary injunction that would close down the illicit enterprise.

Heaven Mini Theatre was also implicated in an April 9, 2009 shooting, in which a witness informed police investigators of his belief that an alleged Heaven employee was the gunman who shot two doormen at the Broadway Showgirls Nightclub in apparent retaliation for a physical altercation a week earlier. The victims, who had been shot in the thigh and neck respectively, survived.

“Naming a business ‘Heaven’ doesn’t place it beyond earthly laws and regulations, but that appears to be exactly what the operators of this illicit enterprise think,” said Herrera. “The Police and Planning Departments have been thorough and persistent in enforcing the law and doing their jobs. Yet gallingly, ‘Heaven’ sued the City because of it. The reality is that this lawless endeavor has no intention of obeying the law in San Francisco, and the court ordered injunction I’m seeking is necessary to shut it down.”

Herrera’s motion details an improbable procedural history of the case, in which the illicit establishment — which has operated without a single City permit — preemptively sued the City for violating its federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process because of what it described as “selective enforcement” of state and local laws. Yet despite being lawfully served with a Cease and Desist Order by the San Francisco Planning Department, despite numerous citations for prostitution by the Police Department, and despite repeated warnings by the City Attorney’s Office, Heaven’s operators have stubbornly remained open for business, distributing lurid flyers promoting their unlawful enterprise, and allegedly engaging in at least one act of intimidation toward a promoter of a lawful and properly permitted competing establishment. The case is 1054 Kearny, LLC, DBA Heaven Mini Theatre v. City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Superior Court No. CGC 08 479-624, filed Sept. 9, 2008.