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May 19, 2010

How hard is it to close a bar?

So just how difficult is it to close a bar?

Last year, after a string of shootings and other drug violence along Belair Road, the cops padlocked Club 410. The manager, a law student, fought back at an administrative hearing, but lost.

Then the feds came and indicted that very same manager as being part of a violent drug gang. She's now in federal lockup awaiting trial. Then the liquor board stripped the owners -- one them a city school employee -- of their license to sell alcohol. They handed the license to the landlord and ordered him to sell it to someone else. Meanwhile, no booze could be sold.

Then, on Saturday, the man leasing the club from the landlord throws a party that the cops bust. Inside, police say alcohol was being sold. Outside, police say, were two security guards impersonating cops and carrying loaded .40 caliber Glocks.

After a story appeared on the arrests of the guards and the police raid, the man leasing the space, Antonio Jackson, called me to complain. The party, he was, was a private affair for Morgan State University students. There weren't 350 inside, as police told me, but 176, the number of tickets he had printed.

Tickets? For a private party?

Yep, he told me he charged $5 a person for a cover charge. But he insisted the money wasn't for alcohol. He limited each patron to one drink. Had the money been for alcohol, his landlord would run afoul of state liquor laws. It's a close call, the liquor board chairman told me, and difficult to prove that the cover went for beer.

But who throws a college party and charges students $5 to get in and gives them only one beer? And what college student would come?

To prove he's on the up-and-up, Jackson stopped by the The Baltimore Sun lobby on Tuesday to show me his lease and other documents. His occupany permit lists the old Club 410 as the new Klub Kidz, listed as a dance studio for children ages 4 to 16.

And so the first event he throws is a beer party for college graduates.

Posted by Peter Hermann at 8:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Confronting crime, Gangs, Northeast Baltimore
        

Comments

Why was this pleasant gathering of young people guarded by men with loaded Glocks?


Everybody knows that dancing 4 yr olds are extremely dangerous.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.



Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.
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