In a stunning turnabout in the three-year-old Strippergate case, King County Superior Court Judge Michael J. Fox has tossed out all charges against stripper king Frank Colacurcio Sr., his son, and two employees. In a Thursday, Feb. 16, ruling, Fox said the charges of money laundering and conspiracy were improperly brought under state law. The state Public Disclosure Act that was used to charge the foursome, he said, provides for only civil action, not criminal prosecution.
Colacurcio Cools It
Frank Sr. might be the father of the Strippergate scandal, but he says he didn't break the law. (July 20, 2005)
A former waitress, 23, takes on Frank Colacurcio Sr., Seattle's 87-year-old nudie-club magnate. (May 25, 2005)
Strippergate Peters Out
It rejected a settlement, yet the city has no case against Frank Colacurcio Jr. (Aug. 25, 2004)
Fox also rejected King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng's attempt to charge the four under another state law. "We obviously disagree with the ruling," said Maleng spokesperson Dan Donohoe. "We will appeal." A spokesperson at the Colacurcios' hiring agency, Talents West, said they had no comment.
Colacurcio Sr., 88, along with son Frankie, 43, and two employees, ex-lounge musician Gil Conte, 71, and office manager Marsha Furfaro, 65, had been charged with various roles in allegedly helping distribute $39,000 to three now-former Seattle City Council candidates in 2003. The campaign contributions to Jim Compton, Heidi Wills, and Judy Nicastro were said to have been funneled by the Colacurcios and the employees through three-dozen friends and family members to get around individual contribution limits.
The council members were unaware of the alleged scheme, Maleng said. He contended the funds were laundered through the political system in hopes of currying City Council favor for a parking-lot zoning change at the Colacurcios' Lake City nude-dance club, Rick's. The Colacurcios wanted the eight-stall lot rezoned for more parking. The land use was approved, even after the political contributions had been revealed in detail by the media. Maleng had charged that the campaign-money "conspiracy was centered around enterprises operated by the Colacurcio family." An earlier City Hall invesitgation hit a dead end, but Maleng said he was able to bring criminal charges in large part by granting immunity to some of those involved. "We'll take our argument to the appeals court," said spokesperson Donohoe.