Chris Brown-Drake Feud Club Faces Shutdown by State for History of Trouble
MANHATTAN — The nightclubs at the center of a bottle-throwing battle sparked by a feud between the singers Chris Brown and Drake have a long history of trouble and could be shut down permanently, state officials said and documents showed.
The Hudson Square clubs WIP and Greenhouse were hit with 14 State Liquor Authority violations Friday for the violent June 14 melee plus multiple fights and instances of noise and drug use in the past three months.
"The licensee, through the actions of its principals Jon Bakhshi, Frank Porco and Barry Mullineaux … [have] failed to exercise adequate supervision over the conduct of the licensed business," state paperwork charged.
Seven clubgoers have said they were injured in the fight, including NBA star Tony Parker, who said his cornea was scratched in the fracas. Some of those hurt have said they plan to sue the club owners.
Police closed WIP and Greenhouse June 16 for unspecified violations after the Chris Brown-Drake fight, a move their owners claim has made them the scapegoats for their customers' bad behavior.
Mullineaux suggested management was not to blame for the battle that left WIP, the 34 Vandam St. hot spot located beneath Greenhouse, littered with broken glass.
"It's not fair," he said when asked about the June 15 arrest of manager Jonathan Cantor, the only person who was been arrested thus far.
Mullineaux declined to elaborate and referred all inquiries to his and Bakhshi's representative, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
But similar out-of-control behavior has plagued Barry Mullineaux and Jon Bakhshi's nightspots for years, and has included shootings, a stabbing death and a vicious clawing.
"Basically, these guys don't see security as a priority," said one nightlife insider who asked to remain anonymous because he didn't want to harm his business.
"When you have certain kinds of parties, you need different kinds of security."
Since opening in November 2008, Greenhouse has been the site of a clawing after which a bouncer needed 50 stitches on his face, and a shooting outside.
In February 2011, wannabe reality star and "shoe consultant to the stars" Rashidah Ali allegedly clawed a bouncer at the 150 Varick St. club, slicing his face from his hairline to his mouth, the New York Daily News reported.
Ali, who appeared on "Real Housewives of Atlanta" and "Basketball Wives," reportedly attacked bouncer Joseph Wright, 31, because he confronted Ali's friends after they groped a waitress, he told the Daily News.
Greenhouse was also the site of the July 2010 shooting death of an EMT previously accused of ignoring a dying pregnant woman during his lunch break.
The June 14 mayhem at WIP began after Drake allegedly sent a note to Brown that read "I'm still f---ing Rihanna," sources told DNAinfo.com New York.
Guest House, a West 27th Street club owned by Bakhshi but not Mullineaux, has also seen its share of violence. The club made headlines in July 2006 when Jennifer Moore was murdered. The 18-year-old student was picked up, raped and killed after a night of partying.
Morgan McLean came in as a part-time manager at the club for three years after the Moore incident and said that under his watch, staff ramped up security and held weekly security meetings to determine how many guards were needed for each event.
"We would review every single party," he said. "Most demographics were covered responsibly and I had the right kind of security."
McLean added that Bakhshi and senior club staff attended most of the meetings.
The Juliet Supperclub on West 21st Street was also set up by Bakshi and Mullineaux, and was the site of violence at the end of 2011.
In September, Christopher Adames was stabbed to death outside of the club. Authorities charged fellow clubgoer and promoter Manuel Pinero, 41, with Adames' murder.
In November, a gunman was able to bypass security and smuggle a gun into the club, eventually killing Artis Arthur, 43, and injuring two others.
After the second incident, clubgoers began to question the Juliet's safety, and the nightspot was closed in early 2012.
Earlier this month, Antonio Fuccio, owner of Georgica Restaurant in the Hamptons, approached Community Board 4 with a plan to take over the Juliet space as a Manhattan outpost of his chic celebrity spot.
Incredulous that anyone wanted to take over the troubled spot, board members asked him to sign an agreement swearing that Mullineaux and Bakhshi would not be involved in the project.
"[Bakhshi] is a well-known nightclub personality who is not neccesarily the most ingenious person in the world," CB4 Business Licenses and Permits Committee co-chair Paul Seres said at the June 12 meeting.
Community Board 2 has also had its own troubles with the pair. Records show the board noted trouble, noise and overcrowding at WIP and Greenhouse.
For two years, CB2 urged the State Liquor Authority to deny a change to Greenhouse's liquor license that was needed in order for WIP to operate.
The board finally agreed to support Bakshi and Mullineaux's application on the condition that they employ at least 10 licensed security guards, be in weekly contact with police and conduct random searches of clubgoers.
The latest set of citations endanger the clubs' liquor license, SLA spokesman William Crowley told the New York Post, which first reported on the state action.
“They’re absolutely in jeopardy of losing their licenses,” Crowley said. “They have a number of prior charges, too, so that comes into play when we’re looking at taking action.”
The owners of WIP and Greenhouse have until July 11 to respond to the state charges.