Date: August 28, 2007
Contact: Joe Stinebaker
HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE ED EMMETT DENIES PERMIT
TO NUISANCE BAR IN EAST HOUSTON
Emmett’s action shuts down bar known for drugs, prostitution
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett signed an order Tuesday denying a wine and beer license to the owner of the Saturno Ballroom, an East Houston nightclub that police and state investigators say has been the site of numerous drug, firearms and prostitution complaints in recent years.
Emmett denied a request by Jose Martir Herrera for a wine and beer permit and on-premise late hours license for Herrera’s club at 7501 Brownwood Street, near Interstate 10 and the East Loop. Emmett’s order came after a hearing last week at which Emmett was to hear Herrera’s appeal of an earlier order denying his request. Herrera did not appear at the hearing.
“Given the Saturno Ballroom’s long history of legal problems involving firearms, prostitution and sales to minors, I have no intention of allowing this club to continue operating as a nuisance and a danger to the families living in the Houston Harbor neighborhood,” Emmett said after signing his order. “Harris County has no tolerance for businesses that jeopardize neighborhood safety.”
Officials with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Houston Police Department were among those protesting Herrera’s request. They presented Emmett with evidence of numerous problems at the club, including the discharge of firearms, sales to minors, after-hours sales, fighting and narcotics sales. That evidence, combined with Herrera’s failure to appear before the judge in support of his request, led to Emmett’s decision to deny the permits.