Who is playing the real game on Houstonians?
The Houston Police Department’s own patrol records dispute allegations Houston’s biggest private poker club was hardly a public nuisance because of crime.
In a lawsuit filed after selective poker club raids early in May, the Harris County Attorney’s Office cited criminal activity at Prime Social between May and November 2018.
Here are the facts. There were only three police reports even filed during that seven-month period, a non- physical argument, a car burglary and a single claim from a member that cash was stolen from a patron’s wallet.
The review of the police reports by Dolcefino Consulting investigators reveal there wasn’t a single person charged with a crime in the year before the raid. Not one.
In 2018, the only other police reports were for trespassing and a stolen iPhone.
“The County Attorney has a lot of explaining to do to the judge after making these crime claims,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Prime Social had ten thousand members, and this is the best they can do to justify trying to shut down a business that employed 100 Houstonians and brought money into the local economy.”
In the four months leading up the police raid in 2019, there was only one incident even reported to police, a security guard using pepper spray to keep out an unwelcome visitor. Again, not one arrest.
“Not one criminal charge during the entire year and a half this private club was open,” says Dolcefino. “There are more fights at a fast food restaurant.”
In the weeks since the raid, that’s not the only reason to raise questions. Houston police have now made attempts to stop the other private poker club in town from operating right out in the open. Private member only poker clubs operate across Texas without police complaints.
“The Texas Attorney General was asked if these private poker clubs were illegal and he didn’t decide, and in the months after, neither Kim Ogg or the police department said a single word to these clubs who advertised their practices all over TV,” says Dolcefino, “even while Prime was helping HPD in a campaign to get Christmas toys for the needy.”
Three employees of Prime were arrested and charged with organized crime after the raid on the morning of a big tournament.
Dolcefino Consulting has now asked for records documenting the approval of HPD officers to work security at Prime Social in the months prior to the raid.
“The issue of whether private poker clubs violate state law is a legal one, not a criminal one,” says Dolcefino. “Ginning up fake news to justify these selective raids while police look the other way to other clubs operating should be investigated.”
Dolcefino Consulting is an investigative communications firm founded by former Channel 13 Investigative Reporter Wayne Dolcefino. Dolcefino Consulting worked for Prime Social to promote the club’s good works in the community.
“Just weeks ago, Prime Social managers were telling me they wanted a new law to have the clubs pay sales taxes to help the Houston firefighters and local law enforcement,” says Dolcefino.
“Anyone who has watched The Godfather, or the Sopranos knows the difference between mob guys and businesspeople who actually thought ending gambling in dangerous underground places and making them high-end entertainment venues was a good business and safer for Houstonians.”