Scott Farrell's dalliance with the Lusty Lady strip club was a shotgun marriage that quickly went up in flames. He came on board four months ago at the behest of veteran stripper Prince$$, who wanted someone to handle accounting and perhaps even bankroll the money-losing enterprise. Though Farrell declined to become a benefactor, he signed a contract to serve as the club's managing consultant, promising to pay off debts, install web cams, and dissolve the co-op model that had made Lusty Lady a kind of Rainbow Grocery within the adult industry.
Even after Nevada-based landlord Roger Forbes slapped the ladies with their final eviction notice, Farrell stayed on, hoping to take one last heroic stand for a beloved San Francisco institution. Then, he says, the whole crew turned on him. On the morning of Aug. 23, the dancers e-mailed Farrell a brittle Dear John letter and told him to pack his bags. They accused him of "gross negligence" and of making deals without the board's consent — namely, by heeding Forbes' request to peacefully shutter the club.
Yet Farrell says his contract gave him such bargaining powers. It also enabled him to manage all accounts and restructure the business. In return, he was guaranteed a $3,000 monthly flat rate plus half of the club's profits for 24 months. Profits were zero during the first two months, he says, owing to the staff's abysmal accounting. "I was just robbing Peter to pay Paul," Farrell says. "We owed back rent, the Workers Compensation Board, PG&E, the water bill — I was just planning to let it all roll over."
By the time he decamped, though, Farrell says the Lusty Lady could have been solvent. Beyond payroll and overhead, the club had $50,000 squirreled away — $25,000 of which was rightfully his, he says. Added to the 20 months of flat pay the Lusty Lady owes him for breach of contract, plus the $3,000 in derelict pay for his last month of work, you get $88,000 — a sum he's not sure he'll ever see. But now he'll let the courts sort it out.
"The day I came in they owed everyone money," Farrell, who filed for arbitration last week, recalls. "If they're as responsible with me as they were with everything before I came along, I don't know what they'll do with my share."
Prince$$ balks, insisting that Farrell wasn't cut out to be a manager. "He was negligent in bill-paying, to the point that we had to chase him down to pay bills," she says, echoing the points in Farrell's termination letter.
Forbes says the club still owes rent, but he's pleased with the denouement. "When I went in, I was scared to death with the way they were operating," he says. "I'm just happy to see them gone."