SEATTLE – Neighbors of a notorious strip club in Seattle's Lake City neighborhood are declaring victory after a guilty plea in federal court will force the place to shut down.
Three associates of Seattle strip club boss Frank Colacurcio Sr. pleaded guilty Wednesday to racketeering and prostitution-related charges. As part of the deal, Rick's Nightclub in Seattle is one of four strip clubs in the Puget Sound area that will be closed or demolished.
People who live near Rick's Nightclub have worked for 23 years to close its doors.
"I think it's a good thing that they're gone. I think it's a bad business," said Marylee Webbeking. She and her husband, Victor, led the fight to get rid of Rick's. "It's a bad business for the girls and that bothers me."
The Webbeking's live just behind the club. When the city voted to expand Rick's parking lot, the club owners were forced to build a wall behind the Webbeking home. Now, the strip club noise will be gone for good.
"I'm going to be really relieved," said Victor.
At Rick's Wednesday, the dancers showed up for work as usual, having already heard about the plea deal. One worker at the nearby Chicka Latte espresso stand says a lot of girls are now out of work.
"That's a livelihood for a lot of people and, yeah, people have problems with it, but they're not messing with anyone," said barista Alessa Martin.
Rick's is located on Lake City Way, near restaurants, a gas station and car dealerships. People working near the club don’t seem too upset by the forced closure.
"I didn't even know they were closing, so it's news to me. Therefore, they've done wrong and they're accountable and they need to respect the decision," said Elisabeth Parker of Bill Pierre Chevrolet.
Years ago, neighbors joined together against Rick's, forming the Neighborhood Action Group, or NAG. And nag they did.
"The whole thing has been a pain in the neck since 1987 when they first came here," said Victor Webbeking.
Under the court order, Rick's and the other clubs – Sugar's in Shoreline, Honey's in Everett and Fox's in Pierce County – must shut down by May 5. The government will take over Rick's. Sugar's has already shut down and Honey's will be demolished.
But the Webbeking's are concerned that this may not be the end of it.
"Of course, we don't know what's going to go in there and it seems most logical for another strip club to go in because that's what the building is designed for," said Victor.
Another concern is that the federal government will want to unload the property and a high-rise will go up. Currently, it's zoned for residential and low-rise commercial, so that may be another relief to neighbors.