Sex club spanked with lawsuit from patron injured during bondage play

On the evening of Sept. 8, 2007, Reina Nevraumont was bound by her hands and feet and hanging from the ceiling. So far, so good. A devotee of San Francisco's BDSM scene, Nevraumont was attending the Power Exchange sex club, then located on Otis Street; her male companion had strung her up with her consent. Then, unexpectedly, the ceiling bolt to which she was attached broke loose and she crashed to the floor face-first, shattering her jaw.

The Power Exchange, run by eccentric former mayoral candidate Mike Powers, has been in the news a lot lately. After more than a decade operating quietly on Otis, the club was hooted down by neighbors when it attempted to relocate to Gough, and more recently opened up shop in the Tenderloin — only to be shut down for fire-code violations on Sept. 11. The club's troubles have caused an outcry from public-sex enthusiasts, who see Powers' travails as evidence that prudery is on the rise in self-consciously sex-positive San Francisco.

While Nevraumont, 32, may remain positive about sex, she's no longer positive about the Power Exchange. She's now suing the club for a hefty — and perhaps crushing — sum.

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Her lawyer, Michael Solomon, says her medical bills for jaw and dental surgery following the accident ran to more than $70,000. Adding in damages for pain and suffering, he estimates that his client will seek a sum in the realm of $500,000. "Legally, it's not much different from slipping and falling at Safeway," he said.

"Getting an expert witness for this case will be interesting," he added.

Powers told SF Weekly that legal success for his erstwhile patron would put him in a bad spot, but insists that he'll try to keep his business open, regardless of the suit's outcome. "She wants a lot of money out of me that I don't have and probably won't have in my lifetime," he acknowledged. He denied responsibility for the accident, saying Nevraumont's partner had been warned repeatedly not to use the faulty ceiling bolt.

For the time being, Power Exchange remains closed while trying to resolve permit issues at its new Mason Street location. Despite the sex club's clouded future, Powers is optimistic, noting that he still has the support of many in BDSM circles. "They love me or they hate me," he said. "They either want to get a rope and string me up, or they say, 'Hey, get over here, and I'll get a rope and string you up.'"

One of those is a good thing, right?

 
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