Feds Sell Former Mob-Owned Seattle Strip Clubs at Auction

SEATTLE—Who says crime doesn’t pay? The Department of Justice saw a nice payday last week with the auction of two Seattle adult entertainment establishments, Rick’s Nightclub and Talents West, seized as part of a plea deal with the Colacurcio "organized crime enterprise," whose patriarch, the late Frank Colacurcio Sr., was indicted in 2009 on racketeering charges.

According to a June 21 press release issued by the U.S. Marshall’s Service, the elder Colacurcio's son, Frank  Jr., who also was indicted on racketeering and prostitution-related charges, “agreed to forfeit $1.3 million in cash and all interest in the strip clubs in September 2010. The U.S. Marshals Service, Western District of Washington, seized the two properties in August 2010. A court order to dispose of the properties was issued in April 2011, and the Marshals determined that an auction was the most feasible way to sell the properties.”

The auction was held June 29. According to Seattlepi.com, Rick’s, which is located at 11332 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, sold for $2.35 million to an unnamed bidder suspected to be the Déjà vu chain of nightclubs. Talents West, located at 8600 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, sold for $600,000, to an unnamed bidder thought to be unrelated to the one that purchased Rick’s.

“The money raised from the Wednesday auctions will be put into the Department of Justice assets forfeiture fund and local agencies who investigated the Colacurcios will divide the revenue,” Seattlepi.com reported. “The auction company will receive about 6 percent of the final bid amount, expected to be split with other companies involved in the sales.”

According to Paul Baxley, an assistant chief inspector with the U.S. Marshal's asset division, the sale amounts were unusually high for an auctioned property, but interest has been high since they went on the market.

"From the time we seized this property last summer we've probably received 20 to 30 calls from different individuals over this last year of interested parties," he said.

Both businesses have been closed since the feds took them over, but the prospect that one of them may remain a strip club has some in the community wondering how the government could allow such a thing to happen. But Baxley confirmed that the Justice Department is neutral on the subject, and that the priority was to reap as much money for the properties as possible. He even joked that if the new owners want to stay in the strip club business, they’ll need to refurnish the place.

"The stripper poles are no longer in the building,” he said. “It’s now, bring your own pole."

Of course, it’s easy to joke when you’ve just been handed a $3 million plus payday for property that didn’t belong to you in the first place.