Nuisance lawsuits against poker rooms raided in May dropped

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

HOUSTON - The nuisance lawsuits filed against two poker rooms that were raided earlier this year have been dropped.

Prime Social Poker Club and Post Oak Poker Club shuttered in May after authorities raided the establishments and seized equipment, records and money. Nine people were arrested and charged with money laundering, but those charges were dropped last month.

In addition to the criminal charges, Harris County officials filed lawsuits against the establishments, claiming they were a nuisance to the surrounding neighborhoods. Court filings showed those lawsuits were dropped Thursday.

The Harris County Attorney's Office, which filed the lawsuits, issued the following statement:

"Our office has decided to end the civil litigation at this time. As you are aware, the nuisance suits rely on the criminal investigations and conclusions of law enforcement and prosecutors. The District Attorney referred these matters to the FBI. We will evaluate refiling the civil nuisance cases after law enforcement concludes its review."

After the charges were dropped, Wayne Dolcefino, a spokesman for Prime Social, said the card-playing business was planning to reopen within the next few weeks, but the nuisance lawsuits were preventing that from happening.

“While the folks at Prime Social welcome this logical decision, this lawsuit was a joke in the first place, a fake portrait created to justify the corrupt prosecution of Prime Social employees who had not done a thing wrong,” Dolcefino said in a statement released Thursday. “Lives were destroyed from this injustice, and the financial damage to the club is significant. You haven’t heard the last of this.”

Dolcefino said Prime Social had 11,000 members when it was shut down.

Prosecutors said they were working to return the $200,000 that was seized during the raids.

The criminal cases have been referred to the FBI, prosecutors said.

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