Lawsuit could shutter club permanently

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In the latest effort to crack down on nightclub violence plaguing San Francisco neighborhoods, City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit Thursday against one troubled Fisherman’s Wharf hot spot.

In the wake of granting more authority to the Entertainment Commission to go after troubled clubs, it was discovered that the commission still lacked the legal authority to revoke permits in egregious cases.

On Thursday, Herrera sued Club Suede, whose permit the commission had voted to suspend for 30 days after a Feb. 7 shooting outside the 383 Bay St. club that left one person dead and four injured.

The club had agreed to voluntarily close after the shooting, and the suspension went into effect April 5.

The lawsuit would allow The City to shut down the club permanently.

“San Francisco should be known for having a vibrant nightlife — not a violent nightlife,” Herrera said in a statement. “Going after reckless establishments like Club Suede isn’t simply about protecting club-goers and neighbors. It’s also about protecting responsible businesses.”

The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco Superior Court against Hanson Wong and Taliesin Entertainment Group, and it says the club has a history of problems — “unruly crowds, fights, shootings, stabbings, blocking of city sidewalks and streets by Club Suede patrons and vandalism” — along with “allowing marijuana to be smoked” in the club.

Club Suede attorney Arthur Lipton was not available for comment.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who supports the legal action, is considering legislation that would empower the commission to revoke permits in cases of serious offenses. It would require approval by the full board.

The commission has also faced criticism by some city leaders who question whether regulation of nightlife should be handled by the group amid suggestions that it’s too pro-entertainment industry and unwilling to lay down the law.

With the recently granted new regulating powers, the commission appears to be trying to change that opinion.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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