Friday, July 27, 2001

Bar is slapped
with $31,500 fine

Club Yokohama pleads no
contest and is able to keep
its liquor license

By Leila Fujimori

The city Liquor Commission has hit a Kakaako hostess bar with the largest fine ever for numerous violations ranging from employees accepting food and drinks as gifts to permitting a person to perform or simulate sexual acts.

Attorney William Harrison pleaded no contest yesterday on behalf of his client K & J Ventures Inc., doing business as Club Yokohama, and accepted the $31,500 total fine for 27 violations. The fine is less than 10 percent of the bar's $394,773.64 gross annual liquor sales from July 1999 to June 2000.

Harrison said his client had not been hopeful of prevailing before the Liquor Commission after the commission voted to revoke the strip club's license in June.

"It pretty much shook up my client," Harrison said. "Revocation would have been the death knell for the club."

Golden Dolls Showgirls had its liquor license revoked June 28 for violations of unregistered dancers and one violation of an underage nude dancer as well as time card violations.

Harrison said Club Yokohama was willing to take responsibility for the actions of three or four of its 30 to 40 employees, who are no longer with the club. He told the commission it had done everything in its power to clean up problems.

The commission's charges stem from a police undercover operation last September. Some Club Yokohama employees were charged with prostitution but were not convicted. However, it would be much more difficult for his client to defend against the charges before the commission, which has a lower standard of proof than the courts, said Harrison.

The fines ranged from $500 to $2,000 for each violation. Other violations included permitting a person to remain on the premises while unclothed or in revealing attire; allowing persons to touch the private parts of themselves or someone else directly or through clothing; time card violations; and failure to register.

Commissioners agreed with the city deputy corporation counsel that the fines would serve as a deterrent.

Commission Chairman John Spierling noted there were no underage workers involved in this case, unlike in Golden Dolls' case.

"I just want to make sure they don't do this again," said Commissioner Chu Lan Kwock after the hearing.

Kwock said many establishments come back under a different operation after liquor license revocations by simply changing corporations. She said the fine will make the owners think twice about doing it again.

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