Tuesday, January 17, 2012

MOOD Lounge retains liquor license with a slap on the wrist required to reopen (no actual enforceable penalties)



MOOD Lounge will, it turns out, be allowed to continue its swath of destruction through the otherwise peaceful 1300 block of 9th Street, NW. The ABRA Board, stating a number of relatively pointless provisions and restrictions, granted the problematic MOOD Lounge their liquor license back on Friday night after nearly 12 hours of hearings. The restrictions are pointless because while they do restrict the club from using "any outside promoters in any aspect of [its] business", the remaining restrictions deal with the security plan and procedures, which, if MOOD Lounge was able to abide by, would have resolved most of the issues in the case to begin with. Worst of all,
they have now told MOOD Lounge, and any other operators city wide, that security plans don't need to be abided by until after there is a near fatality or an actual death, that not abiding by them has no significant consequences, and that it takes a whole lot more than two people in critical condition after a night of partying and fighting in a club and stabbing people right next to the front door to lose an ABRA license. 

One nearby resident at the hearings even suggested when it became clear they would keep the license with virtually no penalties worth noting that they should rebrand when they re-open with a new name: The Teflon Lounge

What was most interesting about Friday's hearing was the frequency and consistency with which the witnesses from the MOOD Lounge contradicted themselves and each other in their testimony. While taking private audio or video recordings of the proceedings is not permitted, a full transcript of the hearing should be available within 90 days. At that point, we will be going through it and producing a full report of the number of times the witnesses contradicted themselves, each other, or factual truth (i.e., one security guard stated that there may be "a small tree" in front of MOOD; as the photo above clearly shows, it is double the height of the building). While some of these inconsistencies and blatant fabrications are surely just simple mis-statements, many seemed designed to continue the pattern of deception and hindering the investigation and proceedings first documented in writing by ABRA in the initial Notice of Summary Suspension. 

All of this begs the question, with so many legitimate operators in the District of Columbia, why are people with at least four (possibly five) pending show cause hearings for noise violations, one for failure to document neighborhood complaints and submit to the ANC on request as defined in the Voluntary Agreement, a double stabbing, an emergency closure by the Chief of Police, and a Summary Suspension from ABRA, all within less than a year of operation, allowed to re-open at all, much less without any meaningful sanctions or penalties and with the same ownership, management, and staff that has allowed such a repeated, well-documented series of events disrupt the neighborhood? 

Ms. Beyene and her spokeperson have said the neighborhood is "harassing" them by requesting enforcement of District of Columbia laws and statutes at her establishment and asking her to abide by the VA. In fact, it is Ms. Beyene and her nightclub that are harassing the neighborhood residents with the incessant loud noise, violence, public urination, stabbings, etc. And it looks like ABRA has given her a license to do just that, indefinitely. 

9 comments:

  1. She played the race card more than once (and her "spokeswoman"couldn't get enough of the race baiting - but wasn't it a white ABRA Board member who was the only dissenter to the first five restrictions?

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  2. I doubt ABRA has the ability to close this place, period. African American business owners in DC, especially in developing areas, seem to hold 100% of the cards when they pit themselves against non-African American homeowners. The second ABRA imposed actual consequences, they'd be labeled as racist...

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  3. As I have mentioned several times, Shaw Tavern was closed just because of a few actions of bad judgement. The Mood Lounge is a pit of stabbing criminals, and it continues to be open.

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  4. Well, you have to remember it matters who fronts and how much of $$$ to the perticular campaign and elections. As any corupt city in the world DCcee is no different, it is not what you did or did not do, it is who you know and who's rear you kiss or back got covered.

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  5. I seriously doubt an establishment like the MOOD Lounge has any significant campaign contributions to Jack Evans..... any official websites that can refute that?

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  6. I believe you meant "continue its swath of destruction" or "continue to inflict its wrath upon." The combo doesn't quite make sense.

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  7. @anonymous 8:01am - autocorrect strikes again :( it's been corrected!

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  8. Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans has not received any contributions from Mood, and he was out front asking that Mood be closed permanently, and re-iterated that after this hearing. This office has spent a lot of time trying to resolve this.

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    1. Thanks for jumping in on that one, Sherri. Is there any type of official website maintained by the Board of Elections where anyone with questions about this kind of thing can go to verify who has made contributions and how much they were to any particular elected official's campaign?

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