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Beverly Hills Drops Charges Against Closed Club Max 151

September 22, 1985

Beverly Hills has dropped 16 charges against employees of Club Max 151 for operating without a fire-prevention sprinkler system as required in the city code.

The club's manager and a court receiver for the club were each cited eight times in April for the misdemeanor violations, according to Assistant City Atty. Jack Allen.

Club Max 151 and the city have been doing battle in the courts for four years. Doheny Drive neighbors have complained about late-night noise and litter and the city said Club Max 151 has violated the law by admitting non-members.

In May, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Norman Epstein ordered the club closed, saying it can reopen if it obtains a sprinkler system and an operating permit from the city.

Allen said that after the club closed there was "no useful purpose" to prosecuting on charges of operating without the sprinkler system.

Club owner Lonnie Simmons has charged that he is being harassed by the city because he is black. Simmons filed an $11-million civil rights suit against the city more than a year ago.

Willis Edwards, president of the Beverly Hills-Hollywood chapter of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People, said his organization "is convinced that the club's charges of racial discrimination are well founded."

Edwards said he will request a meeting with city officials to discuss problems with the club.

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