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Can Can Room owner accused of operating brothel appears in court

Updated October 17, 2019 - 6:13 pm

The Can Can Room’s business license was revoked and the Las Vegas strip club has closed, records show, but the legal battle between the owner and his landlord is only heating up.

Club owner Sam Aldabbagh’s legal team said in a court filing Tuesday that he “lawfully operated the world-famous” strip joint for more than 40 years and that his new landlord, which accused Aldabbagh in a lawsuit last month of running an illegal brothel there, had launched a “campaign of harassment” against him and the club.

The attorneys alleged the landlord “admitted” its goal is to get the Can Can Room “out of the building at all costs” and has “asked people to lie for it” and “threatened” those who refused to go along with its “unjustified attack” on the club.

According to the landlord’s lawsuit against him, Aldabbagh was operating an “illegal business” in violation of state law and his lease and refused to vacate the property.

In court Thursday morning, District Judge Mark Denton scheduled another hearing for Oct. 29.

Sean Thueson, general counsel for landlord The Siegel Group, said afterward that it may not be decided at that hearing whether the Can Can Room has to leave its building just west of the Strip.

Aldabbagh – whose name also has been spelled as Aldabagh and AlDabbagh – appeared in court Thursday sporting tinted glasses, a thin moustache and a long ponytail. He did not make any statements during the hearing, and afterward, when a Review-Journal reporter tried to speak with him, he walked by without saying anything.

Attorney Thomas Boley later said in a statement that the club owner “has been a respected businessman in Las Vegas for over 40 years.”

“We are confident in the attorneys’ work product in this case and we look forward to the entire truth coming out,” Boley said.

Asked for a response to the allegations against the landlord, Siegel Group senior vice president Michael Crandall said in a statement Thursday, in part: “While we do not comment on pending litigation, it goes without saying that Mr. Aldabbagh’s bogus claims are simply meant to deflect from his illegal business activities.”

Siegel Group founder Steve Siegel in May acquired the 62,000-square-foot commercial building that houses the Can Can Room, 3155 Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, behind the under-construction Resorts World Las Vegas.

The landlord sued Aldabbagh Sept. 5 through the property’s holding company. The complaint includes allegations that dancers had to engage in sex acts with Aldabbagh and patrons; Aldabbagh employed a “Madam” who screened women for interviews and collected money from customers for sex acts; and the club had VIP Rooms with beds where employees perform sex acts “in exchange for compensation.”

Las Vegas police conducted an undercover operation at the Can Can Room in the early hours of July 19, which led, in part, to two employees being arrested on suspicion of soliciting prostitution, according to a letter from the Metropolitan Police Department to The Siegel Group that was attached to the lawsuit.

A Metro spokeswoman told the Review-Journal last month that three women were arrested: two on suspicion of soliciting/engaging in prostitution and one on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia.

After the Review-Journal reported on the lawsuit last month, attorney Joshua AlDabbagh, Boley’s partner, said no employees were arrested.

One independent contractor – a dancer – was arrested, he said, and a “completely independent third party” who was waiting to interview as a dancer was arrested as well.

Joshua AlDabbagh also said, in reference to the drug charge, that no such arrest occurred at the club.

According to Sam Aldabbagh’s lawyers, the strip club was “forced to close” in July. Clark County records show its business license has been revoked.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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