Archive for Friday, August 28, 2009

Judge finds Club Axis in violation of court order

From left, defendant Chris Windler and his lawyer Brian Johnson listen to opening statements Friday at a hearing in the city’s case against Club Axis, 821 Iowa. The city argued that the club violated a court order, and has therefore been operating illegally.

From left, defendant Chris Windler and his lawyer Brian Johnson listen to opening statements Friday at a hearing in the city’s case against Club Axis, 821 Iowa. The city argued that the club violated a court order, and has therefore been operating illegally.

August 28, 2009, 2:29 p.m. Updated August 28, 2009, 2:47 p.m.

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Judge Michael Malone looks over Lawrence city code in court Friday morning during a hearing with Club Axis and the city of Lawrence.

Judge Michael Malone looks over Lawrence city code in court Friday morning during a hearing with Club Axis and the city of Lawrence.

Club Axis found to be in violation of city code

A judge ruled a controversial Lawrence nightclub does not have enough parking spaces to meet city codes. Enlarge video

The owners and operators of a controversial Lawrence nightclub were found to be in violation of a court order for continuing to operate their establishment illegally.

Douglas County District Judge Michael Malone issued the ruling Friday against Club Axis, 821 Iowa, and will consider issuing sanctions against the establishment next month.

“It’s clear that the club is in violation,” said Malone, after listening to nearly three hours of testimony in the case.

Lawrence police have connected Club Axis, also referred to as 821 Club, to multiple shootings and stabbings over the years, including the May 2005 stabbing of former Kansas University basketball player J.R. Giddens, when the establishment was known as the Moon Bar.

After a shooting last month outside the club, city leaders asked the court to find the operators of the club in contempt of court for failing to comply with the judge’s orders and operating the business without filing an approved site plan with the city.

Brian Johnson, an attorney for Club Axis, said the city has mangled the facts and that its primary goal is to shut down the business.

“I don’t think the city should try to deny citizens of the community from operating a business, simply because of fears of violence that have nothing to do with that operation,” Johnson said in court.

A lawyer for the city claims the city is not trying to shut the establishment down, it is only trying to get it to abide by the law.

“We don’t want to engage in the battle of trying to run somebody out of town,” said Jerry Cooley, an attorney for the city government.

Violence was not at the forefront of Friday’s hearing, instead the two sides spent more than two hours arguing about the number of parking spots required outside the establishment.

When the bar opened as Moon Bar, it was done so in compliance with city code. The establishment was considered to be a bar complete with pool tables and booths. It had a maximum occupancy of 225 people and 57 parking spaces.

But when it became Club Axis and the pool tables and booths were removed, fire investigators determined a new maximum occupancy of 352 patrons and the city considered the establishment to be a nightclub.

The change came after a significant change to the city code in 2006, which calculates the required number of parking spots differently. The establishment is now required to have 118 parking spots, plus enough parking for the establishment’s workers.

When the city discovered the establishment’s use had changed, it gave the club three options for complying with city code: Asking the Lawrence-Douglas County planning commission to cut them a break, decreasing the maximum occupancy level inside the club or working out an arrangement with an adjoining business to utilize its parking lot.

While city officials said the management of the club did make attempts to come up with a remedy, they weren’t sufficient and an appropriate site plan was never filed with the city. After trying to work with the establishment, the city took the matter to court, where Judge Malone found that the club was violating city law.

“The city’s arguments are simply a distortion and I think really in bad faith,” said Johnson, who claimed the club was not in violation of the court’s order.

Johnson claimed the club was doing nothing wrong. After the judge’s order, Johnson said, it began allowing fewer than 225 people in the club at any given time, which was the arrangement when the establishment operated as Moon Bar.

Malone didn’t buy the argument and ruled in favor of the city. The judge will consider issuing sanctions in the case on Sept. 11.

After the hearing, Johnson said it was his opinion that the club could continue to operate until told otherwise.

Comments

swineprincess 5 years, 8 months ago

This is BS. Complete and Total. The city is playing a shell game and won't be straight with the owner. If officials are willing to stand up in a court of law and lie, the little guy loses.

jimmyjms 5 years, 8 months ago

Ladies and gentlemen, Consumer1, spokesperson for Rep. Lynn Jenkins.

KCMO_Jayhawk 5 years, 8 months ago

Well If The Business Owner Wanted All this to go away he could lease parking spots from surrounding businesses for a monthly charge during the club hours, put it in the site plan and this would all go away... This is acceptable!

you have to kow how to work between the lines in Lawrence.. These are things business owners are not told, but it is out there in the open!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 8 months ago

This town is more violent today than I ever thought I'd see it get. The city is taking that matter seriously. I don't see what's wrong with that.

No one needs a scientific study to demonstrate the one-to-one correlation between management's decisions and the violence on their premises. It just is. So, yes, make shutting them down a priority. Cross Town should be next.

swineprincess 5 years, 8 months ago

jimmyjims... right on.

kcmojayhawk & buenavista .... you think he hasn't tried? are you out of your mind, or just spouting off... I've known the owner for years and he has tried and tried and tried... no one would lease parking spaces ... certain leasing agents would just hang up on the guy. He was basically blackballed by the city govt because of who his clientele would be... Lastly, his numerous site plans were never accepted. Get it right before spouting off...

swineprincess 5 years, 8 months ago

Oldenuf... this is not about violence... it is about race and you should be old enough to understand that...

hawkergirl 5 years, 8 months ago

I'd like the place to turn back into a Village Inn restaurant....hmmmm, pancakes!

missmagoo 5 years, 8 months ago

i'd just like to say that i'm glad that all the thugs and violence are contained within one club (primarily). i don't drive near this place after midnight, NEVER ever in a million years would go to it.. and i'm glad i can still enjoy the nicer bars without fear of stabbings and street fights. not that i frequent the bar scene or anything.. i'm too old :)

hawkergirl 5 years, 8 months ago

missmagoo - Let's start up a pancake house there!

swineprincess 5 years, 8 months ago

Wow I've got it! Homeless shelter and soup kitchen ... all they'd have to do is fix the parking lot.

Sunny Parker 5 years, 8 months ago

You want a pancake shop....buy it and go for it. You can't pick and chose what goes in the place until you put up the money!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 8 months ago

make it your own flavor of pancakes would probably make business go like hotcakes..... Yes.

With real maple syrup....

The motel would likely love both of you for doing a good all day long pancake stop. Yumo.

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

smitty (Anonymous) says… shortage of parking… like the hospital taking the park for due to the non-profit city hospital not abiding by the same parking criteria as this club is cited??? My, my, my! Double standards? Read between the lines….if can be done under the table in silence then it is allowed. Right, Jerry Cooley, city scammer. This club can be handled legally without Cooley's(city attorney good ole boy) shuck and jive approach. Don't misunderstand, the club needs to be reigned in, but how come it took so long to get Cooley in gear on violence prone clubs? Jerk around politics…do it right, not through the back door.


Cooley does work for the city when they tell him they need his services. He does not make choices or operate on his own on City issues.

somebodynew 5 years, 8 months ago

"Malone didn’t buy the argument and ruled in favor of the city. The judge will consider issuing sanctions in the case on Sept. 11.

After the hearing, Johnson said it was his opinion that the club could continue to operate until told otherwise."

OK, and this attorney went to law school?? What part of the judge's ruling that says they are operating illegally and ruling in the City's favor makes this guy think they "could continue to operate until told otherwise" ? Something about the judge saying you are wrong and scheduling a hearing to consider sanctions should not be interpreted as "carry on as usual".

As for the City mistakenly attributing these random acts of violence to the club...... well, let me think about how many stabbings and shootings the city reported at that location BEFORE it became a club. Oh I know....very few (I was going to say none, but I am old and may have forgotten something from way back when). So, if the people that come specifically to go to the club cause the problem, because they are not "in" the club it is wrong to atribitute to them. OK, why else were they in Lawrence???? You attracted them here from KC and Topeka (and YES Lawrence) so they are only in that area because of you. (Unless everyone need gas or to shop at the Merc in the middle of the night.)

cowboy 5 years, 8 months ago

It's those crazy thugs from the Merc , man I had one point a carrot at me the other day , I ran like cwazy outta there .

KCMO_Jayhawk 5 years, 8 months ago

swineprincess...no one would lease parking spaces … certain leasing agents would just hang up on the guy. He was basically blackballed by the city govt because of who his clientele would be…

Thats Hard To believe because, first off there is a vacant building right next door, been vacant since the moon bar!.. first management would love to lease that properties parking spots because that would be the only revenue coming in for that property.. Its EITHER 1 OR 2 THINGS, THE OWNER OF AXIS 821 HAS BURNNED A HUGE LOAD OF BRIDGES.. OR THE OWNER DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS!

bearded_gnome 5 years, 8 months ago

“I don’t think the city should try to deny citizens of the community from operating a business, simply because of fears of violence that have nothing to do with that operation,” Johnson said in court.

---lawyer, please enroll in a course in spoken english.
listened to this guy on 6news, sounds like a bottom-feeder type lawyer.

I do agree with Smitty, I thought of the double standard 821-club vs LMH.

sounds like "Swineprincess" is the club owner's wench.

now, suppose we could get into court over 214-club?

beachbumin 5 years, 8 months ago

Swineprincess- I think your name says it all, got to respect the princess of pigs!! Looks as if you are defending some swine, get out of my town pig queen

beachbumin 5 years, 8 months ago

Bring back the Village Inn!! A nice gun free place where a drunk could go for nice meal without worrying about getting shot from some hip hop t-town gangstas soo wee, here pig here pig

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

somebodynew (Anonymous) says… “Malone didn’t buy the argument and ruled in favor of the city. The judge will consider issuing sanctions in the case on Sept. 11. After the hearing, Johnson said it was his opinion that the club could continue to operate until told otherwise.” OK, and this attorney went to law school?? What part of the judge's ruling that says they are operating illegally and ruling in the City's favor makes this guy think they “could continue to operate until told otherwise” ? Something about the judge saying you are wrong and scheduling a hearing to consider sanctions should not be interpreted as “carry on as usual”.


First of all Brian Johnson is not an idiot. He worked in the Federal system for several years and if the Judge didn't make a ruling on continued operation in or as part of the court action they may very well be able to operate until the Judge says otherwise.

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

smitty (Anonymous) says… We seem to agree, doctor. Did you also get the part where the guns/violence/club vicinity problem isn't fixed even though the city recently went through it? The city has mangled the facts is a fair evaluation. Two hours of discussion in court on parking not violence? Is this the same kind of razzle dazzle other businesses refer to when it comes to doing business with Lawrence's city hall?


I get it. The problem is the City has very few options to shut down a bar until their license is up for renewal and even then it can be a legal nightmare when the bulk of the problem occurs outside the bar with people other than the bar owners breaking the law. I agree that much of the problem may be happening because of the way the owners choose to operate their bar but legally you are going to fight an uphill battle blaming them for what others do. Why do you think it took so long to shut down Last Call? It took effort from at least three different approaches and one was the Land owner wanting them gone.

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

swineprincess (Anonymous) says… kcmojayhawk & buenavista …. you think he hasn't tried? are you out of your mind, or just spouting off… I've known the owner for years and he has tried and tried and tried… no one would lease parking spaces … certain leasing agents would just hang up on the guy. He was basically blackballed by the city govt because of who his clientele would be… Lastly, his numerous site plans were never accepted. Get it right before spouting off…


You are kidding right? No property owner in their right mind would lease out a parking area for use by bar patrons. The trash, puke, liability, and damage that would occur the the buildings associated with the parking lot along with the eventual assumption that parking was okay 24/7 and not just during bar hours would hardly be worth a few lease dollars.

johnadavies 5 years, 8 months ago

The people running the bar, and the Crosstown for that matter, are running a business with a business model that draws people that are willing to be free and loose with guns and other things. It might be a good idea to give these folks a zone (maybe out by the Outhouse) where they can drink and use drugs and shoot at each other all that they want with a nice high wall around the place. The games the city and/or court are playing are because they haven't got a good handle on the situation that can keep this nonsense from happening anymore.

If we are a nation of laws then maybe we need to make some that will fix this situation.

Steve Miller 5 years, 8 months ago

How do these establisments add value to the comunity, except for the need for police protection when they have a marathon gun fight or stabbing after payday. Put in the pancake house, i'll take a short stack with maple syrup.

doc1 5 years, 8 months ago

quote "I don’t think the city should try to deny citizens of the community from operating a business, simply because of fears of violence that have nothing to do with that operation,” Johnson said in court.

Are you kidding me you twit. The violence has nothing to do with the operation. Your a moron if you expect anyone to believe that.

It's time for a good old fashioned witch hunt. Everyone get together fill up a 5 gallon jug of gasoline and take care of Axis once and for all. You'll save someones life in the future as well as tax dollars of the police that have to constantly babysit there.

Sunny Parker 5 years, 8 months ago

The guy is just trying to make a living!

somebodynew 5 years, 8 months ago

"sunny (Anonymous) says…

The guy is just trying to make a living!"

So am I. I just choose to follow the laws and ordinances while doing it. Oh yeah, I also don't have an establishment that attracts gun and knife toting thugs (both out of towners and locals) while serving alcohol to them; and then try to use the argument that any act that occurs outside my doors shouldn't be connected to my place.

Scott Tichenor 5 years, 8 months ago

Good. If you can't follow city ordinances, shut them down, close their doors, take away their license, boot them, etc.

Now, when is the city going to take those steps for the deplorable junk yard garage at 9th and Delaware that's continued to operate without a site plan and been in constant violation of city laws for nearly a year now?

Waiting, waiting..........

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 8 months ago

swineprincess I agree with you. You make some excellent points. There is still a lot of prejudice in Lawrence and that is something we have to deal with, like it or no.

TheJokerObama 5 years, 8 months ago

Looks like you all have to go back to Brothers to get your "www.hotchickswithdouchebags.com" photos.

Sigmund 5 years, 8 months ago

Irish (Irish Swearingen) says… "There is still a lot of prejudice in Lawrence and that is something we have to deal with, like it or no."

You would think with a history of shootouts in Kansas bars we would be more open minded about that sort of thing, but sadly we are stuck with our prejudices.

Sonsofliberty 5 years, 8 months ago

Let's all be real for one time and let's be fair. Really, does it matter whether they shut the place down or not? It shouldn't be a suprise to everyone that this has happened but the manner they actually try to play out the excuses. Whether the actions of the club owners were not upto par, I don't think an establishment that only accepts and respect a group of people should be shut down. Be fair but most importantly be fair to yourselves and others. Let's say the club has a bad rep. but also let's say that's the only place that actually entertains a specific group of individuals. Is it fair to deny them an aspect of fun? You can't blame the owners for fights in the parking lots. It's the work of the police to protect these individuals. If they fought inside the club, then that would mean a different thing. Im a Law student and sat during the ruling. I gotta tell you this, I might have picked a wrong career if that could be me some day. It's so ironic how you go to these bars around lawrence and you can't listen to a certain song because it might cause excitment but in the actual sense, that's what everybody wants to hear.It's a place like Axis that you can go and listen to your favorite "RAP" song without having to deal with the fact that you are in a bar and can't listen to a song that you like yet you are there to spend. I've been to other bars like the Hawk who only say that you can only get in with a KU ID. I thought to myself and said if that's not classism then the dictionary should be abolished. Now people will jump ahead and say that you have an option to go to another bar. Well, by one not being allowed into a public place is not different from what the civil rights movement was all about and a violation of the constitution. The excuse given "weeding out the bad people." Ask yourself this "What if I was born in this town, my family live hear and just because they couldn't afford KU, I'm I not allowed to have fun in a place that I choose to go? What's funny is that the main calprits end up to be black kids. Lawrence is supposed to be the most accepting city in the midwest. i'm just wondering if there's a mode that people want this town to be percieved. What? black kids can't come and dance in Lawrence? Ain't other bars packing their dance floors every business hours? I'm just tired of people using individual behavior as path to racist acts and that's what this is all about. And please refrain from the word "Ghetto" as a behavior. That just shows how shallow and ignorant you are. This was done primarily to limit the amount of black kids and music lovers from coming to Lawrence. Let's be fair because if you deny this then you are lying to yourself. Plus I'm not black! So don't even think I'm over reacting.

somebodynew 5 years, 8 months ago

@Sonsofliberty - Whew, that was one long paragraph. But, no I would not accuse you of over reacting. You are speaking your mind and in a reasonable manner.

But, I would disagree with you on some points that you make. Just why should we as residents of this community be expected to put up with the dangerous and illegal behavior of patrons of ANY establishment ?? And before you go into the music type or the race card, I truely mean ANY establishment. If a redneck country bar brought in customers that wanted to bring guns and have fights in the parking lot, then I am all for closing that place down also.

And please, I am soooo tired of the argument that the "establishment" isn't responsible for the actions that occur outside. The ONLY reason people are in any establishments location is to go to that location. Now, maybe the establishment doesn't let them in, or kicks them out, but there are only in the area because of that establishment. Not trying to sterotype or anything, but do you really think people from Kansas City and Topeka come to 9th and Iowa at 1-2am to visit the Merc or to bowl a few frames. ?? And don't go off on me bringing up the out-of-towners,I do understand that plenty of local people visit there also and are capable of causing the problems.

My point is that if you have a place (any place) that is drawing that many people that cause that many problems, just why should we let it go on.??

puddleglum 5 years, 8 months ago

bring out the bulldozers.... and go back to topeka. the only reason that they come down to lawrence is because of the weak law enforcement here. in topeka, you would get yourself disappearededdedded before you were ever tossed in jail.

Sigmund 5 years, 8 months ago

Sonsofliberty (Anonymous) says… "Im a Law student and sat during the ruling."

Please tell me you're kidding.

somebodynew 5 years, 8 months ago

Well Sigmund, I thought the same thing but just chose to try to respond to his/her post. With the people I know in law school or just graduated I had a hard time with how that entire thing was written.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 8 months ago

PG: in topeka, you would get yourself disappearededdedded before you were ever tossed in jail.

---I doubt the truth of this statement: there can't be that many D's in Topeka! LMAO!


SOL says we want to "deny [a segment of our young society] an aspect of fun."

SOL, if you're for real here's a serious answer: Yes!
it is illegal for Texas cowboys to come riding up here on their horses, slinging their guns and shootin' up the town, too. we deny them that "aspect of fun."
we don't allow twelve-year-olds to drive, apparently we deny them that "aspect of fun," too.

just simply total up charges and police calls. look at the history of Last Call, fights there, shootings, guns seized nearby from vehicles, etc. funny, there wasn't the same problem with the Jazzhaus (sp?) or Fatso's.
the crowd you're trying to defend carries guns often, and uses them often in criminal ways. there was a murder outside the Granada, after a rap show a few years ago. funny, since then, no more shootings. the other night there was a fight between two losers armed with metal pipes...probably not rap induced violence! LOL.


I will also add, much like my criticism of the club owner's legal bottom feeder, you better learn to properly express english if you think you're going to be a lawyer.

sloppy writing represents sloppy thinking.

swineprincess 5 years, 8 months ago

Bearded Gnome: I would challenge you to live up to your charge: "just simply total up charges and police calls. ..." and when you do I challenge you to come back here and report your findings. The Ranch, Abe & Jakes, The Hawk AND the Granada, to name but a few, have had their share of violence. When you can present the statistics comparing incidents of violence at each of these clubs, then you will have my attention.

Oh, yeah, one more thing, when you can string together a grammatically correct sentence, complete with capital letters and punctuation, then you will win the right to critique the writing of other posters herein.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 7 months ago

swineprincess (Anonymous) says…

Bearded Gnome: I would challenge you to live up to your charge: “just simply total up charges and police calls. …” and when you do I challenge you to come back here and report your findings. The Ranch, Abe & Jakes, The Hawk AND the Granada, to name but a few, have had their share of violence. When you can present the statistics comparing incidents of violence at each of these clubs, then you will have my attention.

---Swiney, looks as if I was right, eh?

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