Ex-Centerfolds Houston stripper has mentioned for years she and others by no means acquired paid for work

A former stripper sued an upscale Galleria nightclub Monday, saying the managers there never paid for their work for years.

Instead, in a practice that lawyers at some strip clubs have found time and time again, Centerfolds Houston bosses expected her to tip her all her money. In addition, as a “contractor”, the bosses demanded a “house fee” of at least US $ 28 per shift to appear on stage, according to documents.

But that was not all.

Managers required the 41-year-old woman and her strippers to share at least $ 55 of their tip with co-workers who don’t deserve tips, such as the DJ, “housemaid,” “doorstep maid,” and, yes, the managers. If a customer bought a lap dance with a credit card, the stripper had to repay the house the $ 5 credit card fee, the lawsuit says.

In some cases, the plaintiff or her fellow dancers ended a shift financially.

Lawyers filing labor lawsuits against these facilities say managers tend to exploit vulnerable women who lack resources and need the work.

David W. Hodges, a labor law attorney who brought the case and already sued the owners, said very few of these places are unionized and workers sign a form that all complaints go directly to an arbitration tribunal, he said .

“You’re young and don’t have a lot of experience in the workplace,” said Hodges. “Sometimes they bring home a lot of money. Sometimes they don’t. The clubs still have their hands open. “

Centerfolds Houston staff declined to comment on the lawsuit and a spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Houston-based Grace Roberts is seeking compensation for violating the Minimum Wage Act, the company’s illegal tip-sharing policy.

According to her federal complaint, she worked for three years between 2013 and 2020 in Centerfolds Houston – a fake Greek Revival building with ornate private champagne rooms – and in facilities owned by the defendants.

In her class action lawsuit, Roberts requested that the judge include as plaintiffs all workers who appeared at the club and were treated as contractors, as they were also financially harmed by the company illegally calling them contractors, according to documents.

She sued brothers Ali “David” Davari and Hassan “George” Davari, longtime Iranian-born Houston residents who owned at least six prominent topless bars in Houston, including Centerfolds Houston in Richmond, Treasures in Westheimer and at least one Club in Las Vegas. You are the President or Vice President, respectively, of AHD Houston Inc., which operates as Centerfolds Houston. Also listed as defendants are Thomas Venza, the club’s general manager; Christopher Malusa, a former manager; and Kurt Houston, a former general manager.

Roberts said she didn’t receive hourly pay for four eight-hour shifts a week between August 2017 and February 2020. She demands damages, back payment, reimbursement, attorney’s fees and costs, as well as any other relief that the court deems to be fair and appropriate. “

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Diane Cowen contributed to this.

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