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Morgan Hill
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October 16, 2021

Substantial fine needed

Rumors are swirling that prosecutors and Deena Luce, proprietor
of the Forum Adult Social Club, are close to finalizing a deal that
would settle the partner-swapping sex club
’s numerous citations for operating a business without a license
in Gilroy.
Rumors are swirling that prosecutors and Deena Luce, proprietor of the Forum Adult Social Club, are close to finalizing a deal that would settle the partner-swapping sex club’s numerous citations for operating a business without a license in Gilroy.

While we’re all for saving the criminal justice system time and money by avoiding prosecution in this case, it’s imperative that the settlement not be a slap on the wrist for Luce and her business. Although she faces up to six months’ jail time for each offense after the first three – and Luce and her associates garnered 20 citations between Aug. 16 and Nov. 2 – we don’t mind if Luce doesn’t darken a jail cell door.

But we do mind if she keeps the vast majority of her profits. By our calculations, the fine in this case could top out at $17,800. We urge prosecutors to insist that at least half of those fines are paid. It’s certainly not unreasonable that Luce and her club should be fined an amount equivalent to the monies earned at one the Forum’s big party nights.

Luce thumbed her nose at the authorities who were enforcing zoning standards and laws regarding business licenses, which are in place for the greater good of the community. She continued to operate the club, despite repeated citations, and when she did finally move its operations, it was to an area zoned for agricultural uses – this time on Dryden Avenue, in the county, just outside Gilroy city limits.

On Dec. 9, the county notified the property owner from whom Luce leased the Dryden Avenue house to evict the club by Dec. 26, yet the weekend partying continues. The club’s neighbors, frustrated by the slow pace of removing Luce and her cronies, have resorted to videotaping customers as they arrive for a night of hedonism, in hopes of shaming them away. It shouldn’t have to come to this.

That’s why, in addition to insisting on a hefty fine, prosecutors should require that the sex club vacate the Dryden Avenue property immediately, and not reopen the club anywhere within Santa Clara County. They should also be in contact with the Internal Revenue Service officials and California tax authorities – who will want to make sure that every penny of the club’s revenue has been properly accounted for and reported since the club’s inception.

If Luce and her customers want to a place to swing, they have a right to find one, but they must to do so within the bounds of all applicable laws – zoning, business license and permit ordinances, as well as personal and business income tax codes.

Taxpayers and law-abiding citizens and businesses deserve nothing less than full and vigorous enforcement of these laws against anyone who flouts them.

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