City Attorney Puts the Screws to Club Suede

Categories: Law & Order

Today, the City Attorney's office filed a complaint against the owners of Club Suede, the nightclub on 383 Bay Street that become the center of a heated debate about nightclub violence after 19-year-old Lawon Hall was gunned down in front of it in February.

"We're hoping the owners will shut down on their own. ...If they don't, we're going to ask the court to shut them down," Jack Song, a spokesman for the City Attorney's office, told SF Weekly this afternoon.

Song said the city has used similar tactics to shut down other problematic venues, including the Pink Diamonds and Heavens Mini Theater strip clubs.

The complaint against Suede, which includes a long list of rule violations and violent incidents at the club over the past two and a half years, alleges that Suede is a public nuisance and that its owners engaged in unfair business practices, including serving alcohol after 2 a.m. and allowing Marijuana to be smoked inside the club.

The defendants are Hanson Wong and the Taliesin Entertainment Group, LLC, of which Wong is the managing member. Arthur C. Lipton, an attorney who represented Hanson Wong at the Entertainment Commission hearing last month, said he was still waiting to hear if his client wanted to comment on the complaint.

In the complaint, the City Attorney asks that each of the defendants pay a civil penalty of $2,500 for each incident of an unfair business practice, and that "their agents, officers, managers, representatives, employees, and anyone acting on their behalf" be permanently banned from operating Club Suede or from using the 383 Bay property to cause any public nuisance.

Suede is currently in the midst of a 30-day suspension handed down by the Entertainment Commission in the wake of Hall's murder.

Pretty much nobody is sticking up for Suede or its owners, which is unsurprising, given the club's well-documented track record of problems.

The California Music and Culture Association, a nightlife advocacy group whose founders include controversial Entertainment Commissioner Terrance Alan, sent out a press release today applauding Herrera for taking action against Suede, and noting "It is unfortunate that one 'bad apple' can spoil the reputation of an industry that overwhelmingly employs responsible business practices and supports safe venues for entertainment." 
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