Phoenix club was 'house of prostitution,' cops say

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Ryan O'Donnell

Posted on January 29, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 9:09 PM

Map: The Champagne Room
3826 E. Illini, Phoenix

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PHOENIX -- Serving search warrants in connection with an alleged prostitution operation, police converged on a Phoenix business and a Surprise home Tuesday morning.

According to Sgt. Steve Martos of the Phoenix Police Department, the vice unit has been investigating suspected prostitution activity at The Champagne Room for two years. He did not say what sparked that investigation.

Tuesday morning, officers armed with search warrants descended on the 24-hour club, which is located near 40th Street and Interstate 10. Two women and one man were taken into custody there.

"This was an actual business that was occurring here in which individuals would come to this particular location, enter, and select a female that was working that particular night," Martos explained. "They would then go with this female to a private room. It was at that point that they were provided a menu of sorts and were charged anywhere between $300 to $900 for a sex act of some sort. So, in essence, it was prostitution."

Martos said officers also raided a Surprise home belonging to the owners of The Champagne Room. A man and a woman were taken into custody there.

A variety of charges likely will be filed in connection with this investigation and Tuesday morning's police operations.

"We believe that the owners, obviously, were aware and were conducting this business as a house of prostitution," Martos said. "We had some managers who were working here [at The Champagne Room]; in essence they were working as pimps, if you will. We have the females who were now working as prostitutes."

A Backpage.com ad posted on June 13 promised a "gorgeous selection of champagne sweeties," going on to say "we cater to you," "we know what boys like," and "pick your pleasure." The ad also claimed to be "the #1 gentlemen's choice for adult fun" and "the sexiest club on Earth."

A similar ad posted on Oct. 12 told potential customers "your one on one session is customized for you" and "we will make you happy."

While detectives have not released the names of anybody involved in the incident, public documents filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission list Janet Fiore as the statutory agent and director of The Champagne Room 2. That paperwork was filed in June 2012 and updated in July.

The original ACC paperwork for The Champagne Room, also listing Fiore, was filed in January 2006. According to that document, the business was incorporated on Sept. 22, 2005. It was dissolved in September 2008.

The investigation into the alleged prostitution operation is ongoing. Martos said more arrests are possible.

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