City Attorney Dennis Herrera negotiates lawsuit settlement that will end operations at “café” that had become magnet for criminal activity
SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 30, 2014)—City Attorney Dennis Herrera today settled his lawsuit against the proprietors and landlords of Net Stop Business Center, an internet café whose alleged gambling activities corresponded with a massive increase in police calls to its Excelsior location, and Figure 8 Technologies Inc., the software company that supplied the gambling software to Net Stop.
Under the terms of an injunction filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, Net Stop’s owners agreed to close its doors within the next 60 days and refrain from operating a similar establishment in San Francisco for five years.
Herrera also announced that Figure 8 has agreed to a court order to cease providing, supporting or maintaining gambling software anywhere in the state of California for five years. Figure 8 has also agreed to pay the City $25,000, and to deactivate its software at all California establishments where it is currently in use.
“We were able to negotiate settlements and tough injunctions against both Net Stop and Figure 8 that abate a neighborhood nuisance in the Excelsior, strike a blow against the criminal activity that has come with it, and will even curb illegal gambling statewide,” said Herrera. “We will move aggressively to protect neighborhoods from anyone who isn’t following the law. I’m grateful to Chief Suhr and the San Francisco Police Department for their efforts to combat the problems at Net Stop, and for building a body of evidence that enabled us to file a strong case. I’m also thankful to Supervisor John Avalos for his leadership and responsiveness to the community.”
“This is a big win for Excelsior residents,” said Avalos, whose District includes the Net Stop location at Mission Street and Excelsior Avenue. “When this establishment closes, people are going to feel safer on the streets and have even greater pride in the neighborhood.”
Herrera’s original lawsuit, filed on Nov. 7, 2013, alleged that Net Stop had violated state and local law by maintaining computerized slot machine games that allow customers to purchase electronic “points” and then redeem their winnings for cash. On December 5, 2013, Herrera amended the complaint to include Figure 8 as a defendant.
The opening of Net Stop corresponded with the beginning of a dramatic increase in criminal activity in the area, according to Herrera’s complaint. In the year prior to its opening, from November 2011 to October 2012, Net Stop’s location was the subject of only two calls for service to the San Francisco Police Department. But in the first year Net Stop was open for business, from November 2012 to October 2013, SFPD responded to Net Stop’s location on no fewer than 202 occasions.
The civil suit details the public nuisance that is created when an illegal gambling operation takes over a neighborhood, reducing the ability of neighbors to feel safe and causing an enormous and unnecessary drain on police resources.
The case is: City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Thomas Lacey et al, San Francisco Superior Court Case No. 535314, filed Nov. 7, 2013.
PDF of the Net Stop settlement press kit, including the injunctions agreed to by the owners of Net Stop and Figure 8 (Jan. 30, 2014)