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Theater Survives Another Attempt to Close It Down

May 12, 1987|JOHN SPANO | Times Staff Writer

A new legal maneuver failed Monday against an X-rated Santa Ana movie theater that has survived 10 years of attempts by the city to shut it down.

Lawyers for Lincoln Savings & Loan Assn., which operates a branch near the controversial Mitchell Brothers Theatre, asked a court to declare the establishment a nuisance and to close it.

Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Julian Cimbaluk denied the request.

Lawyers for the theater, who defeated 30 straight closure orders sought by the city last year, termed Lincoln's request "absurd."

Lincoln, headquartered in Phoenix, is headed by Charles H. Keating Jr., a well-known anti-pornography activist. Keating was a founder of a group called the Citizens for Decency Through Law.

The lawsuit, filed in March, was called by theater lawyers an "absurd attempt by a private extremist group from Arizona to resurrect litigation which the City of Santa Ana after long and careful consideration decided to settle."

In March, the city agreed to drop all further efforts to close the theater. Mitchell Brothers got $200,000 from the city, bringing to almost $700,000 the estimated costs of Santa Ana's 10-year litigation.

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