Operators of Glendale's only sexually oriented bookstore violated city zoning laws by installing without permission about 20 token-operated video arcades, a judge ruled.
Daniel Bishop, president of Unique News and Video, and manager Gary Enea were found guilty last week of violating a city use and occupancy permit by Glendale Municipal Judge Cheryl Krott.
Both could face a sentence of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.
However, Glendale Assistant City Atty. Scott Howard requested a lesser fine and probation for the two men if the video arcade portion of the store is torn down. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 1.
Since August, Glendale undercover police arrested seven men on suspicion of lewd conduct in the video booths. Two similar arrests were made there last November, police said.
Howard argued that the store's use and occupancy permit allowed only retail sales and video rentals. He told the court that Bishop and Enea intentionally and "surreptitiously" added the closet-size peep show booths after city officials inspected the facility at 5130 San Fernando Road.
The booths, installed about a week after the store's May, 1986, opening, provide entertainment for patrons and are the store's main source of income, Howard argued. The city building code requires a different occupancy permit to run entertainment establishments.
Enea, however, testified that the booths were not installed to entertain customers, but to show previews of videos for sale and for rent in the store. Retail sales and rentals, he testified, accounted for 70% to 75% of the store's business, and purchase of 25-cent video booth tokens accounted for the rest.
Two police officers testified that during undercover visits to the store, most of the business took place around the video arcade, where holes between the walls of some booths allowed homosexual liaisons. Glendale Police Officer John McKillop testified he was solicited for a sexual act while sitting in a booth last September.
Joseph Liebman, defense attorney, told the court that the city building ordinance is vague since it doesn't mention video booths. As a result, he said, Bishop and Enea were unaware that adding the movie arcade would change their business' occupancy classification.