On Dec. 7 the U.S. Attorney’s Office was forced to notify local media that the Clerk of Court for the Western District of Louisiana had inadvertently released a sealed affidavit (apparently to The Daily Advertiser) in the case of United States v. Panos.That’s the federal case involving the Dec. 5 raid of Desperado’s Gentleman’s Cabaret and ongoing investigation into its owner James “Jim” Panos — the same raid that snagged a shoe-less UL communications prof who’d just had sexual relations with a female employee there who was also arrested. The affidavit and related information were placed under seal by U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Hanna on Dec. 4 of this year.
“This matter remains under seal for the safety of witnesses and members of law enforcement,” noted First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook in a mass email to local media. “Members of the media have asked the United States Attorney for copies of the affidavit and for comments related to this case. As this matter remains under seal, the United States Attorney cannot provide additional information until the affidavit is unsealed by the court.”
Van Hook’s email came to ABiz at about 2 p.m., some 10 hours after The Daily Advertiser posted an online story (we can only assume this is what was supposed to remain under seal, as the U.S. Attorney’s office would not confirm if this was the accidently released info):
The arrests came after a two-year investigation by the Lafayette Metro Narcotics Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency into narcotics sales and prostitution at the Carencro club, according to a federal complaint filed by task force agent Karry Falcon, working with the DEA.
The complaint says Panos allowed drug sales and prostitution to go on freely in the nightclub and that he charged employees fees to sell drugs or sex to customers. Condoms were often provided to the employees, according to the statement.
Undercover officers repeatedly purchased drugs at the club and were offered sex in the so-called VIP room for $250-$275, including a $50-$75 fee for use of the room, according to the statement.
“James Panos creates an environment within the Desperado’s club where patrons can drink alcohol, purchase illegal narcotics from Desperado’s employees and can engage in prostitution with Desperado’s dancers in the VIP room,” according to the statement, which was filed in federal court and unsealed after the arrests.
“Once in this VIP room, anything goes for the right price,” according to the statement. — ABiz Staff