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Former dancers team up against downtown LA club

August 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
About 20 women, all former dancers at Club 907 in downtown Los Angeles, partnered up with attorneys in a wide-ranging lawsuit.

There's not much left of Club 907, it closed last year. It was one of seven so-called "hostess dancing clubs" that operated in downtown L.A. Customers paid up to $30 an hour to pass the time with a hostess.

In a lawsuit filed in June, the club is being sued by former hostesses that allege they were harassed by managers who illegally withheld their pay.

"Pretty much you dance and you talk, that's what you are there for," said former hostess dancer Diana Maguna. "There is no sexual activity, there's no taking off clothes."

Maguna was one of dozens of women who worked at Club 907. She joined about 20 of her former coworkers at a news conference on Wednesday, where they accused their former employers of breaking several laws.

"I worked there 30 hours and I only got paid $60, $50 per paycheck," said Maguna.

"One of the managers at one point asked me to have sex with him," said former hostess Ana Menjivar through a translator. "I said no."

"I felt exploited, but I kept working there because my family needed me to," said former hostess Ibeysa Puublana through a translator.

Bert Voorhees is an attorney representing two women who have filed a class action lawsuit against Goliath Incorporated, the company that owned Club 907.

"They were subjected to an illegal pay scheme and to pervasive sexual harassment," said Voorhees.

Representatives for Club 907 deny all the allegations. Attorney Jeffrey Ranen released a statement:

"Documents will prove that Club 907's employees received well more than the minimum hourly wage. The sexual harassment allegations are false and being driven by a long-term, disgruntled former employee who had a falling out with her supervisor. This case is nonsense, and Club 907 intends to aggressively defend it."

The lawsuit does not specify damages, but Voorhees says they will be seeking anywhere from $15 to $20 million. An attorney for the club says he is confident that the case will be thrown out of court.

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