The state Friday revoked the liquor license of one of San Diego's few remaining strip clubs.
The state's Alcoholic Beverage Control department said the loss of the Pure Platinum Gentlemen's Club's license to serve alcohol was the culmination of a process that began more than two years ago.
The ABC ran a sting operation, along with several law enforcement agencies, and tallied 34 citations against the club on Pacific Highway.
The agency said there were six cocaine sales involving employees, as well as several lewd act violations.
"In October of 2008 through January of 2009, this location, their employees that work for them sold cocaine or negotiated sales for cocaine on six separate occasions," said Jennifer Hill of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Hill said dancers also committed 12 lewd acts during the investigation, specifically showing parts of their bodies they're not allowed to show under terms of their alcohol license. Hill said between four and six dancers were arrested in January 2009.
Pure Platinum will not have to close; it just will no longer be allowed to sell alcohol.
On Friday, 10News asked Hill why the club's license to sell alcohol is being yanked because of actions that had nothing to do with alcohol.
"Anyone who has an alcoholic beverage control license, they are responsible for the actions that occur on our around their licensed premises," said Hill.
10News spoke to a woman who used to work at Pure Platinum as a waitress and bartender from 2003 to 2005. The news about the club's alcohol license being revoked came as no surprise to her.
"It was just all over the place, everywhere. It was a normal thing
girls will do cocaine in the dressing room right in front of you, customers do it on the tables out in the open," the unidentified woman said.
In addition, she told 10News that she's heard the other Pure Platinum club in Kearny Mesa is under investigation and may lose their alcohol license in six months.
The ABC wouldn't confirm or deny the woman's claim, and they said they don't comment on current investigations.
Club management admits to the violations, but they said revoking their license to sell alcohol goes too far.
"You've got single parents, this is their livelihood, so you're going to punish them because you have a few bad apples?" said Ernie Encinas, director of security at the club.
Encinas said as soon as club management found out about the wrongdoing, they corrected the problem. Encinas also said a suspension of the license would've been fair, but not a revocation.
Brett Wilson, a valet at the Pacific Highway club, told 10News, "All the people who've had jobs here: bartenders, cocktail waitresses; they're all out of a job, pretty much."
Up to 40 bartenders, waitresses, dancers, security personnel and valet parkers will probably lose their jobs. However, the club will remain open as an all-nude establishment. They're allowed to do that under their city operating permit.
Strip clubs that serve alcohol are not permitted to have the entertainers achieve total nudity. Since liquor can no longer be served, that restriction no longer applies.
The club has now exhausted all of their legal options. They have to wait at least one year before they can re-apply for a license to sell alcohol.
The liquor license for the Pure Platinum club in Kearny Mesa remains valid, 10News learned.
ABC oversees about 82,000 liquor licenses in California, revoking about 50 each year.
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