Lt. James Hinson located a tracker device on his police car on June 3, 2005. That started the media up. Not only did they have the GTRC to cover, but now they got a modern racially motivated police scandal to boot. The talk of the first hearing was not just a buzz that the Klan was in town. There was also much talk of the fresh case of corruption.
That same night Hinson found the tracker, many of the GPD special intelligence officers, that have been accused of being in a racist secret police gang, were conducting an investigation of a strip club called La Frontera. The club catered to Hispanics and had ignored zoning violations since Feb. 13, 2004.
On that hot June night, dozens of used condoms were pulled from the establishments trash. Topless dancing was observed and according to city manager Mitch Johnson, there was questions left unanswered regarding human trafficking concerns.
According to a cop who did not want his named used, local authorities traced several of the dancers from La Frontera to a house that was being investigated by police in another county. It was reported that the dancers were driven between the house and the club by a Hispanic male.The logical thing to do would be pull their business license. End of story.
However, Mitch along with city attorney, Linda Miles, created a deal to allow the club to move across the street without penalty for operating over a year illegally. The agreement is HERE!
La frontera was first investigated by the GPD, zoning enforcement and the business license office in early 2004. They were given Notice of Violation regarding operating a strip club and making pornographic movies in a back parking lot trailer while not zoned for a sexually oriented business. That penalty is $500 per day. La Frontera operated 1 year in violation without penalty. Some of the problems as well as a city created time line are below. (Click to enlarge)
The staff of la Frontera closed up their strip club and moved across the street on Sands Drive. There was a 29 page document detailing what could and could not be done at the new La Copa Rocha. However, shortly after the move, La Copa Rocha gets caught violating their lengthy agreement.
The city did not fine them or inspect them to see if the problems have been corrected. They sent them two letters instead.
The city did not send inspectors until I began to question the lack of follow up. On Oct 11, 2005 I got this message from the legal department regarding La Copa Rocha and the city's lack of follow up. The e mail is below.
We are making sure the folks go back out there and something is done.
The city sent two inspectors out to Sands Drive on October 14, 2005 to check on the club. The inspectors, Chris Payne and Barry Levine, reported in an e mail that the club had removed the doors from the private dance rooms and had hung beads to cover the private area entrance. They also reported that the club had removed all of the private dancing signs.
On may 16, 2006 the city reported to the Troublemaker that the club had not been inspected since the October inspection of 2005. The reason? The official response was there had been no complaints regarding the business.
However, in the April 5, 2006 SCORE CORE Meeting Minutes, there is talk of a new club on Sands Drive called La Copa Rocha. The notes indicated that there was complaints of lap dancing and the club was being "Looked into." But, less that 30 days later the city reports there has been no complaints reported since 2005?
Because the city cannot handle this matter fairly, the Troublemaker launched an investigation.
1. Several adult entertainers reported to the Troublemaker that La Copa Rocha is mainly a Hispanic club that caters to Hispanic males.
2. The ladies that dance at Player's Club on High Point Road sometimes go dance at La Copa Rocha.
3. La Copa Rocha is allegedly operated in the same way La Frontera was operated. The key word is they are operating outside of their zoning regulations. The operation has been doing this cat and mouse game with the city for over two years. La Copa Rocha operates as an adult business.
The Troublemaker went to the location of La Copa Rocha Sunday morning to see what the place looked like after a night of business. The parking lot was clean and well manicured. The Troublemaker went to the back of the building to take a peek inside the dumpster to see what the establishment throws away. The Troublemaker took one trash bag and opened a small hole in it. It was full of beer bottles, ashes, cigarette butts, and greasy napkins. After briefly shaking the bag to expose some of its contents a used condom slithered out. (The condom is on the bottom right of the picture. It is right above the black trash bag.)
The city has handled this operation horribly. It seems as if someone is working hard to make sure this business is untouchable. The N&R mentioned strippers and the role they played in a large cocaine ring and a dirty cop scandal. Some went to prison. Some are missing. All were caught up in shady dealings. It would seem to me that the city would exercise zoning ordinances to prevent shady strip clubs from doing shady stuff. After all, this is a club that is operated by the same people who ran La Frontera. According to Mitch Johnson, there was human trafficking concerns in June of 2005 at La Frontera. Good thing they moved it across the street.