New legal battle brews over Knockouts strip club

New legal battle brews over Knockouts strip club

There's a new court battle brewing over the Knockouts strip club in downtown Albuquerque and whether or not it should be open right now.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There’s a new court battle brewing over the Knockouts strip club in downtown Albuquerque and whether or not it should be open right now.

The attorney representing G-12 Entertainment, which operates Knockouts, says city Code Enforcement officers forced them to shut down, even though the strip club was still technically allowed to operate as a bar.

Knockouts has two types of licenses – a traditional liquor license which allows them to sell drinks, and a sexually-oriented business license which allows for sexual entertainment. The city suspended that second license after investigators couldn’t find an employee’s file on the premises.

Knockouts appealed the suspension – allowing them to stay open for a little longer – but a judge sided with the city earlier this month.

“The ordinance gives us a 10-day grace period before we actually have to stop sexually-oriented entertainment. On March, the fourth, the city came in with eight police officers and two other agents and ordered us to close the business and made all our employees and our customers vacate the premises, and they did,” said Paul Kennedy, the attorney representing G-12 Entertainment.

That’s despite the business having an active liquor license. The attorney says the city backtracked and let the club reopen shortly after. But once that grace period ended, Kennedy said another group of officers showed up and forced them to shut down again, even though they still had that active liquor license.

The attorney admitted the city’s legal team has acknowledged that dual license issue, but he still wants a court ruling. Kennedy filed an injunction this week to prove the city violated its own rules.

“We have to, because these officers are going to come in again and try to shut us down, and just because the city attorneys now acknowledge they were wrong, doesn’t mean the officers aren’t going to keep shutting us down. We have to have some clarification from a judge,” Kennedy said.

KOB 4 reached out to the mayor’s office about the new injunction. They say it’s completely unnecessary.

A spokesperson confirmed the city’s Legal department told Knockouts it could continue to operate under its liquor license, as long as it did not attempt to operate as a sexually-oriented business. The spokesperson said they repeated that when the injunction was filed, and insisted there is no need for a court ruling.

A court date on the issue has not been set, but Kennedy said there will be a court battle over this even isf the injunction is resolved.

“After the injunction hearing, win or lose, we’re going to file civil rights complaints for both the March 4th and the March 19th shutdowns, and we’re going to ask that they pay for our lost revenues during that period of time they shut us down,” Kennedy said.

It’s worth noting the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department is trying to revoke the club’s liquor license – after employees reportedly served alcohol to minors. There’s no ruling on that just yet.