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Last dance for Club Leon?
Manteca Police: Close downtown dance hall
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Sixty days ago Manteca civic leaders agreed to give Club Leon’s new owner time to correct a long list of problems and concerns.

Now it looks as though the dance music may be over for the establishment in the 200 block of West Yosemite Avenue in downtown Manteca.

Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker is recommending the City Council when they meet this Tuesday at 7 p.m. to turn down owner Francisco Luis Acre’s request to appeal the chief’s decision to deny the request to operate a dance hall at that location.

Since June 16 when the council gave the new owner a 60-day extension on the denial of his permit request to allow him to address community and safety issues concerning Club Leon the following incidents have occurred:

•The police received a complaint from a downtown resident of excessively loud noise coming from Club Leon at midnight on June 18.
•Police arrested an individual for public intoxication in the Club Leon parking lot on July 5.
•Manteca Police closed Club Leon on Aug. 7 when it was discovered their business license had expired on July 30 and no application for renewal had been filed.

Bricker, in a memo to the council, noted that once Club Leon did apply for their business license renewal it was discovered that it had been issued under the business name of Leon’s Beer and Billiards. It was not issued as a dance hall but as a retail permit listing the business as a lounge and billiard hall. Their current permit changed the business name to Club Leon but again listed it as a retail lounge and billiard hall.

The business is located in a community commercial zone that under Manteca zoning codes does not allow a dance hall as a permitted use. It requires a conditional use permit from the city to operate a dance hall which had never been obtained.

The tiff involving Club Leon started after surrounding business owners complained about the public intoxication, public urination, and the trash.

The Alcoholic Beverage Commission has caught minors in the dance hall that has a full-service bar on more than one occasion.

Manteca Police also weren’t getting cooperation from the owner to reduce the calls for officers – many to break up fights and to handle assault complaints - that hit a city-high 40 during a 12-month period ending May 31.

The council back on June 16 gave the owner 60 days to devise a plan to reduce the problems in and around the club substantially.

The police department originally denied the permit for a number of reasons including minors – as many as five at a time - being found repeatedly in the business that also has a bar.

Other reasons include:

•an incident where police responded to Food-4-Less on April 11 and found Club Leon employees trying to pass counterfeit money to purchase alcohol for the bar. It is a violation of the Alcoholic Beverage Control regulations to buy alcohol for a bar at a retailer like Food-4-Less.
•the doors being locked in violation of the fire code.
•The dance hall being over the legal capacity.
•a male patron who said he was assaulted by a club bouncer.
•fights including one where a female showed up at Kaiser Hospital saying she was the victim of a battery at the club.
•ABC agents also finding minors in the bar or more than one occasion.
•officers responding to a number of fights at the bar as well as in the business’s rear parking lot in the rear.
•the ABC has suspended the alcohol license twice in the last year for the previously listed violations.
•the case history for Club Leon is substantially higher than any other businesses in Manteca including establishments serving alcohol. The only difference between the other businesses and Club Leon is the fact it is a dance hall.

Bricker met on Aug. 1, 2008 with Club Leon manager Christina Aragon and her security personnel to discuss ongoing alcohol violations and violence issues in and around the business. They were told at the time continued problems would place their permits in jeopardy.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail