Honey’s: a welcome demise

When bulldozers begin mowing down the seedy building that housed Honey’s, Snohomish County’s last remaining strip club, it’ll be the best entertainment that part of Highway 99 has seen in years — adult or otherwise.

The removal of this long-standing magnet for crime will create opportunity through subtraction. Whatever development takes its place will be a huge improvement, and could provide the commercial spark needed for Mukilteo to successfully annex the area and improve the city’s revenue picture.

At minimum, the area will become safer when the club closes for good next week.

Kudos to the police agencies who spent years investigating the organized crime and vice that fed off of Honey’s and other clubs, including the Snohomish County Sheriff’s office, and Everett and Seattle police departments. Applause also goes to federal prosecutors who on Wednesday announced a plea deal that will result in the demise of Honey’s — along with the closure of two other strip clubs, one in Shoreline and the other in Pierce County near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

This wasn’t a self-righteous crusade against legal adult entertainment; it was a necessary offensive against prostitution, money laundering and other chronic crimes. Most infamously, 26-year-old Patti Berry, a dancer at Honey’s, was killed after leaving the club one night in 1995. Her homicide remains unsolved.

“We put an end to the corrupt criminal organization that made millions by exploiting young women,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan noted.

The three men who pleaded guilty to various crimes — some of which were related to racketeering — were alleged by prosecutors to have known that prostitution was taking place at their clubs. They managed to avoid jail time, but agreed to forfeit an estimated $4.5 million in property to the federal government, which will seize the clubs and shut them down.

The two men at the center of the case, 92-year-old Frank Colacurcio Sr., and his son, 46-year-old Frank Colacurcio Jr., still face numerous charges and are scheduled to go to trial early next year.

The closure of Honey’s will mark the end of nude dance clubs in Snohomish County, at least for now. They’re evidently unable to make a profit legally, so there’s reason to hope they’re gone for good. The last large club in Everett closed more than a decade ago.

It hasn’t been missed. Honey’s won’t be, either.