10News Exposes San Diego's 'King Of Strip Clubs'

Lawsuit Filed Against Harry Mohney Over Labor Violations

San Diego's adult-themed clubs and bookstores are part of an empire built on nearly naked women or what some would consider a wildly profitable mix of "teasing and pleasing."

However, some workers at those clubs said they’re being cheated out of their money, and attorney David Miller is suing over labor code violations on their behalf.

The lawsuit targets a man named Harry Mohney and Déjà Vu Consulting. Known in court documents as the “Howard Hughes of Porn," Mohney is linked to some 50 clubs across 17 states and four countries, including several in San Diego.

“You know them as Dreamgirls, Showgirls, Lil’ Darlings … there is the Love Boutique, Barnett Bookstore …,” explained Miller.

Miller said Mohney runs his strip club empire through Déjà Vu Consulting, and in a lawsuit just filed, Miller is suing Mohney and Déjà Vu on behalf of San Diego employees.

“There is no labor code that I’ve found that they haven’t violated,” Miller said.

Lisa Profit, a bartender at the Dreamgirls club in Kearny Mesa and a plaintiff in the suit, said, "The management has been very, absurdly, repulsive."

She said she worked 8-hour shifts with no breaks and was given paychecks that didn’t add up.

“They’re doing interesting things with their math,” she said.

While many may not be surprised that a business of sex, cash and alcohol would lead to allegations of wrongdoing, Miller said it was unusual how Mohney has tried to protect the millions of dollars the businesses generate.

“They’ve constructed a shell game to try to protect themselves from liability,” he said.

That belief was echoed by a federal judge in Michigan, who wrote that Mohney, his “corporate entities” and “people employed by them are engaged in a rather significant shell game.”

One example is the Hustler Club in the Midway area of San Diego, formerly known as Pacers. It was run by Jason Mohney, Harry’s son.

Last year, the club lost a $940,000 arbitration case with a former dancer. Then, despite grossing “$3 million a year” according to court documents and before paying the arbitration award, the club filed for bankruptcy.

In Chapter 11, Jason Mohney was “dishonest,” according to the judge, because of “his failure to disclose” trying to sell the club to another entity that “Mohney formed” the same month he lost the arbitration.

“In the process, the club was taken from them and they got into further trouble with the bankruptcy judge,” said Miller.

The word “dishonest” showed up 7 times in Judge Louise Adler’s ruling three months ago, and the judge also referred the case to the U.S. Attorney for investigation of fraud.

Harry Mohney has past experience with law enforcement, as he was convicted of tax evasion.

“And the federal government thought he should donate several years of his life back to society in exchange for his tax errors,” said Miller.

That donation of time lasted from 1992 to 1994 in Boron Federal Prison. Mohney’s clubs were hit with a $14 million dollar lien.

But the shows have gone on.

An attorney for Harry Mohney, David Norris, said, “Harry Mohney is not the owner of Dreamgirls, not the owner of the Hustler Club or Little Darlings … He owns no adult-themed nightclubs.”

Norris said he could not respond to the lawsuit filed over alleged labor code violations, stating, “It was just filed yesterday or today.”

Norris said he had not seen it yet.