Having made millions off porn and nudity, Roger Forbes has now taken the final step to replacing Frank Colarcurcio Sr. as the region's filthy rich stripper king, erasing the last traces of the late racketeer's ten-state empire of vice and corruption.
Now, after hearing some of Colacurcio's associates planned to reopen Fox's, Frank's onetime dance club in Tacoma and the last joint in an empire that once stretched to Texas, Alaska and Hawaii, Forbes quietly snatched up the property last year and re-launched it this month as DreamGirl's at Fox's.
Forbes started in the skin business 40 years ago with porn theaters in Seattle and Renton, constantly battling church and community opponents and taking a First Amendment dispute all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court; more recently he beat the Seattle Mariners in a court fight over his new DreamGirls club near Safeco Field. Of the 75 national Deja Vu clubs, Forbes outright owns nine clubs in the West, including three in downtown Seattle and two in Lake City.
"We've gradually managed to become the dominate player in the city, and it's very satisfying" Forbes told us as he prepared to re-open Rick's last year - a re-launch briefly delayed by a $650,000 accidental fire.
He didn't want to talk about the story we'd heard how he acquired the Tacoma-area property. But as records show, three former Colacurcio associates attempted to re-license the Fox's property, inside the Parkland city limits, after it was shut down by court order when the three and Colacurcio and his son Frankie were indicted three years ago for prostitution and racketeering.
Fox's had been in the name of Steve Fueston who pleaded guilty in 2010 to a misdemeanor to commit prostitution near a military establishment. Two associates also pleaded out to avoid jail time and gave up ownership in the empire, while Frank Colacurcio Jr. pleaded guilty to racketeering, forfeiting $1.3 million and spending most of a year in prison.
Frank Sr., facing his eighth felony, beat the rap by dying, at age 93, six months before trial.
When Forbes heard of the Fox's re-licensing attempt by the former associates, he moved swiftly - buying up not just the Fox's property, but the whole strip mall in which it's housed off Pacific Avenue South. His intent, we're told by a Forbes corporate source, was to cut off any attempted comeback by Colacurcio's cronies and bury the longtime rivalry for good.
As it turned out, the associates' license application was rejected anyway.
The News Tribune reports that the Pierce County Sheriff's Department is keeping an eye on the reopened club for any sign it has returned to its former ways when prostitution, drug use and even shootings in the parking lot prevailed.
"If it attracts problems and issues, then we'll deal with the enforcement issue behind it," spokesperson Ed Troyer said. "Hopefully, we don't need to."
As the 70-year-old Forbes told us earlier - chatting on the phone from his Lake Tahoe home while entertaining his wine maker who'd just flown in from Paris: "I don't mind going to court in civil disputes. I don't mind standing trial on motion pictures or the reading of books. But defending yourself against pimping or prostitution? Sorry, I'm way too old for that."