EXCLUSIVE: Alleged townhome strip club prompts neighbors to call police, host denies wrongdoing

Melanie Woodrow Image
Saturday, September 2, 2023
EXCLUSIVE: Outrage over alleged SJ townhome strip club
Neighbors say someone is running a strip club out of a San Jose townhome. But the host denies it and says they are just private parties.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Some San Jose residents say their quiet neighborhood has been taken over by what they are calling a strip club. They say loud parties every weekend have been happening for months despite endless calls to 311, 911, code enforcement and more.

Exotic dancers, alcohol, and stacks of ones. Before "Fressh Promotions" Private Party was up and running on Camille Circle in San Jose, neighbors say they heard construction during the middle of the night for months.

"What they were building, I had no idea," said a Camille Circle resident who asked that we not reveal her identity.

"So we called the general manager and he thought it was maybe them lifting weights," laughed Andy Benzinger, an attorney for Camille Circle residents.

Benzinger believes he now knows what was being built.

Residents provided the ABC7 News I-Team with pictures of empty exercise & dance pole boxes thrown out in a communal garbage.

Once construction stopped, the music started.

"It's not Mozart, it's strip club music," said the resident.

Neighbors say they found video from inside the parties by clicking on a map within the snapchat app, all of the videos public, most of them too explicit to show on the news.

"It's literally every weekend," said Benzinger.

VIDEO: SJFD investigating after online video shows dancer exiting firetruck at adult entertainment club

The San Jose Fire Department said that it is investigating a "concerning" video that was shared online by a local social media influencer.

Benzinger's relative lives on Camille Circle. He's now representing approximately 12 units.

"This is an unlicensed commercial activity right in the middle of a group of townhomes. It's flabbergasting. It's unbelievable," said Benzinger.

ABC7 News obtained video of people coming and going from the complex during the middle of the night. At the base of the stairs, individuals wearing shirts that say 'security' escorting them to the party by flashlight.

"It's wild for me, I don't want to live like this," said the resident.

It's why she agreed to talk with ABC7 News, but asked us not to show her face because of concerns for her safety.

For months she says she's called 311, 911 and even police directly.

"When you're calling, what are you telling the 911 call operator," ABC7 News I-Team reporter Melanie Woodrow asked.

"I'm telling them that there is a strip club at this particular unit," said the resident.

"And what is the response of the 911 call operator when you say there's a strip club going on at this unit," Woodrow asked.

"Basically they take the call and they tell me that they will deal with it," said the resident.

But she says despite her efforts, every weekend, the parties continue.

"Did police come out for each of those calls," Woodrow asked.

"I have no idea," said the resident.

The I-Team asked San Jose police to look up several case numbers provided to us by the resident. A spokesperson said they were either noise or music complaints. We asked further about three calls to 911 in one weekend.

One on Aug. 18 at 4:42 a.m. A spokesperson told the I-Team, police did not respond to that 911 call because a supervisor requested the information be turned over to the bureau of investigations for follow-up.

Police said another call on Aug. 19 at 4:58 a.m. was solely a music complaint and there was no police response.

In a final call to 911 on Aug. 20 at 4:08 a.m., San Jose police said communications personnel called the reporting party back for an update on the noise disturbance prior to dispatching officers. When unable to reach the caller for a status update, the call was cancelled.

In a follow-up email to ABC7 News, a spokesperson referred to the noise disturbance as a "low priority call."

"There isn't the sense of urgency that I think this situation is entitled to," said Benzinger.

A San Jose police spokesperson told the I-Team, public information officers and other department personnel were not available for interviews.

By email, the spokesperson told the I-Team SJPD was first made aware of the allegations in early August and that an investigation into what they call the illegal business is open and ongoing.

But the person hosting the parties told me he's not doing anything illegal.

I-Team reporter Melanie Woodrow called the number listed on the invitations and spoke with someone who identified himself as Fressh for 22 minutes. He told her the private parties are for friends and family and that his mom who lived in the townhome recently passed away. He denied charging money to get in or for bottle service and told ABC7 News that "200" for bottles referred to tokens, not dollars. He said the exotic dancers are entertainers, family and friends, not employees. He called the security guards his brothers and said they work a graveyard shift at nearby clubs and that if they're outside, it's because they're smoking.

In addition to SJPD, residents filed complaints with other agencies.

San Jose's Code Enforcement Deputy Director told the I-Team Code Enforcement has opened a case to investigate any potential zoning, building, or municipal code violations within (its) purview. Also that it is coordinating with SJPD on the issues at the townhome.

"Coordinate," said Benzinger. "Take care of this problem now before it gets worse."

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control told the I-Team it could not confirm or deny if its investigating but reiterated that it looks into every complaint received. Also that the sale of alcoholic beverages in California without an appropriate license is a misdemeanor violation of the Business and Professions Code.

An attorney for the Homeowners Association said the HOA had no comment.

Enforcement aside, a person who told ABC7 News she's been helping the landlord said an eviction process is underway, but also takes time. She texted Woodrow, "We are doing everything we can to get these people out asap while we are waiting for the court clerk to process the paperwork."

An effort the parties' host may be aware of. When ABC7 News shared neighbors' concerns with him on the phone, he apologized and offered to keep the music down. He also said he expects to leave within the next 20 days.

Thursday afternoon, a Sheriff's Deputy walked up the stairs and placed an eviction notice on the window giving the people inside until September 6th to leave or be forced out.

In the meantime, people who live here are at their wit's end.

"I really feel traumatized by it," said the resident.

"This is not safe, it's dangerous, and it's not just dangerous for me, it's a danger for everyone," she continued.

"It only takes one time for things to go terribly wrong," said Benzinger.

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