Man who ran Shenanigans club denied release as drug case proceeds

The man who ran Shenanigans Gentlemen’s Club will stay behind bars after the judge ruled that he misrepresented his income and would not comply with conditions.

Luiggi Canessa is accused of selling meth to an undercover officer in February at his home, which is less than 300 feet from the Colonie business. Canessa also admitted to investigators that he distributed meth, cocaine and marijuana from the residence, according to court documents.

The club is under investigation for allegations of drug trafficking and sex trafficking. The court hearing on Thursday revealed more details including allegations that customers are being drugged and their credit cards are being swiped, ringing up large charges for lap dances and other services.

Prosecutors also claim that there was prostitution and drug selling at the establishment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Reiner said there are images on Canessa’s iCloud account detailing the illegal activity taking place at the club.

Canessa remained in federal custody after his arraignment last week. His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jeremy Sporn, had sought to have his client released on conditions.

“He’s lived his life up till now without any arrests or criminal history,” Sporn told Judge Christian Hummel at a hearing in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

The prosecution initially was agreeable but then changed its mind. Reiner had submitted a letter to the court saying that Canessa was not truthful with his answers to investigators.

Canessa told investigators that he only made $3,000 per month for running Shenanigans and the Sheer Pleasure lingerie business next door. However, they found $20,000 in cash in his home. He also said he did not own property, which was not true. He has property in Pattersonville and Albany.

Sporn said that his client has ownership stakes in business entities that own property and did not mean to mislead investigators. He also said that his income is an average amount.

“Some months he makes more. Some months he makes less. It’s a rough approximation,” Sporn said, adding that the business is all cash.

Also, prosecutors said the primary occupant of the residence where he was going to live was caught on surveillance footage selling drugs on two separate occasions, according to a motion filed by prosecutors. 

Canessa also kept an “enemies list” on his phone, Reiner said.

Judge Christian Hummel sided with the prosecution that Canessa could not be trusted.

“I have no reason to believe he will cooperate with any conditions I would set for him,” he said.

Canessa will remain in federal detention.

His attorney waived a preliminary hearing. No new court date has been set.

The club remains open for business “under new management,” according to a Facebook post. It is hiring cooks, bartenders, DJs and dancers.