CHULA VISTA, Calif. -
Controversy is brewing over the first strip club now open in Chula Vista. At issue is not just the club's location near children but also how the owner obtained the permits.
The Eyecandy Showgirls strip club opened this weekend along prime bayfront property in Chula Vista and is not being welcomed with open arms.
"I think it's a little surprising considering this is kind of a family-oriented area," said Chula Vista Nature Center visitor Kendra McElree.
The club is in an area close to children, just across the street from the Chula Vista Nature Center.
10News has uncovered that there is even more reason to be concerned about Eyecandy. The owner's other club in the city of San Bernardino called Flesh was shut down for prostitution.
"At least in San Bernardino, they had no intention of running a comedy club," San Bernardino City Attorney James Penman told 10News. "They did not even have the intention of running a nude juice bar. They intended to run a house of prostitution and that's what they were doing when we closed them down."
On one job search website, the Eyecandy Showgirls club was advertised as a new adult entertainment club searching for nude female dancers, DJs and door men. No background checks were necessary.
When 10News went to the Eyecandy club to talk with management, 10News was told very little, except for that the club has the proper permits to operate.
Construction improvements have been under way for months. However, the city of Chula Vista told 10News, "The owner indicated on the tenant improvement application that the construction work was for a comedy club."
But nude dancers and comedy club comedians are two different professions.
Chula Vista municipal code prohibits exotic dance operations within city limits. Now, the city and police are looking into the legality of the business.
The Los Angeles-based attorney for Eyecandy told 10News this is a fight that Chula Vista will not win if they should pursue, since their club is protected by the Constitution.
"We are a legally operating business offering jobs to unemployed workers," said attorney Roger Jon Diamond from his office in Santa Monica. "The city and residents should embrace that we're trying to get people working again."
It is the work that they will be doing that is in question.
10News has now put the city of Chula Vista in touch with city officials in San Bernardino to compare the illegal moves the company may have made in both cities.