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Archive for Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Attorneys for Club Axis and the city to discuss nightclub’s future at hearing

July 14, 2009

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City takes Club Axis to court

The city and a controversial nightclub are headed to court. Enlarge video

Attorneys for the city and Club Axis, a controversial Lawrence nightclub, are scheduled to meet Friday to debate the club’s future.

A hearing is scheduled in Douglas County District Court to consider a request by the city to find the owners and operators of the club in contempt of court. The city says the club is ignoring a judge’s order.

In December, Judge Michael Malone ruled that the business at 821 Iowa — more recently referred to as 821 Club — violated city law by operating as a nightclub instead of a bar, and should not do so without filing a new site plan with the city.

The city said the establishment, prior to opening as Club Axis, operated as a bar, known as Moon Bar. The city said Club Axis became a nightclub when it changed its layout, allowed more people inside and offered music for dancing — all without filing a new site plan.

After a recent shooting outside the club, the city filed a motion in the case, asking the court to take action because the establishment has continued to operate as a nightclub without filing the new site plan. The lawsuit named Christopher Windler, Fred Windler, Qing Ling Wang and Xin Li Liu as defendants.

Brian Johnson, an attorney representing the club’s owners and operators, said the city was grasping at straws. Johnson equates the action against Club Axis to the city’s efforts to shut down Last Call, 729 N.H., which closed in 2008 after violence outside the club.

“The city, fresh off of their previous conquests here in town … feels quite emboldened that if they find another proprietor that they personally disagree with, that they can use some muscle to get them to shut down,” Johnson said. “The only problem in this case is their basis lacks any legal support or factual support.”

Lawrence police have connected the establishment on Iowa to multiple shootings and stabbings over the years, including the May 2005 stabbing of former Kansas University basketball player J.R. Giddens.

The building housed the Moon Bar from May 2003 until it closed in late 2005. The establishment reopened in March 2007 as Club Axis. Since then, police said, a 25-year-old was shot in March 2009 in the parking lot of the bar and a Topeka teenager was wounded during a July 5 shooting outside the club. The current owners claim the violence has been wrongly connected to the club.

Johnson said he does not anticipate the city will be successful in shutting down Club Axis, which would be the ultimate result if Malone ruled in favor of the city.

“The legal process has to run its course,” Johnson said. “They don’t have any basis to shut down my client.”

Comments

texburgh 5 years, 4 months ago

"The current owners claim the violence has been wrongly connected to the club."

Of course it's not connected to the club. Everyone in town knows that if you want to shoot someone, you should go to the parking lot of Club 821. These shootings have nothing to do with the patrons. It's just apparently a nice lot if you happen to want to shoot someone.

It needs to be shut down. While I personally hate the "culture" associated with this club and with Last Call, they should be allowed to have whatever music they want. BUT...if the owners can't control the patrons, you're gone.

The shootings ARE connected to the club; they attract a violent crowd - evidence is their own long list of clothing restrictions. They EXPECT their patrons to try to come in armed or belong to gangs. If you can't control them and send them home in peace, then you shouldn't be allowed to operate.

These guys are every bit as bad as Steffes.

Sigmund 5 years, 4 months ago

texburgh (Anonymous) says… "These guys are every bit as bad as Steffes."

I disagree, they are much, much worse.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 4 months ago

This sounds a lot like prejudice to me. It is an all black club which says a lot about just how integrated Lawrence really is. Close this down and then where will the blacks in Lawrence have to go to hang out and dance? No where. I think this is really a sad thing.

somebodynew 5 years, 4 months ago

Irish - You are wrong on this one (and others). It is not neccessarily an all black club, and the blacks in Lawrence don't neccessarily go there.

Most of the trouble is from out of towners (2 other cities) who come to Lawrence JUST because there is a club that caters to them. Unfortunately, they bring their "attitude" and weapons with them.

mdrndgtl 5 years, 4 months ago

Shut it down, not for the crowd it attracts, not for the music it plays, but for the violence that occurs there (inside, outside, it's all the same).

BigPrune 5 years, 4 months ago

They just need to turn it back into a Village Inn with a dance floor.

motocross 5 years, 4 months ago

Irish is a whackjob!!! Yeah, all the blacks in Lawrence love that place..... idiot

oncoRN_638 5 years, 4 months ago

While it's not the owners fault that violence happens outside their club every weekend...something should definitely be done. We don't need outta-towners bringing their violence into our town. If we get rid of one crappy club to save a life a two, I think it should be done!

grammaddy 5 years, 4 months ago

Shut it dowm. shut it down, shut i down, NOW!!!

compmd 5 years, 4 months ago

This is clearly not the fault of Axis/821. Obviously, this violence is caused by people who come to the Merc to shop for organic foods and get really, really mad when they get there and its closed.

Chris Ogle 5 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence may be a safer place if this club is shut down... However, why does the city have to use "back door tactics" like a Site Plan violation??? The city should at least "shoot straight" (no pun intended) with the owners. Just explain that too much violence has occured at the club, and that's the reason they are leaving.... see you later bye

BigPrune 5 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence is a safe haven for gangs from Kansas City and Topeka. It is considered neutral territory so these gang bangers can go party. It has been this way for at least 20 years. With the gangs comes the violence. How does one keep these gang bangers from coming to Lawrence?

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 4 months ago

I am not swayed by these carefully thought out arguments against the position I took. I spoke to several black people and they all told me that the club is an all black club. I was told by them that they would not invite a white friend there as the white person would be very uncomfortable around so many black people. This is where I got my information from.

DGL 5 years, 4 months ago

If anybody thinks this is racially motivated, go ahead and hang out in the parking lot of "Club 187," or the BP gas station across the street, from 1:45 to 2:30 am and tell me you feel safe.

cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 4 months ago

"However, why does the city have to use “back door tactics” like a Site Plan violation??? "

Because that is how you legally create a ghetto. Shove people around with back door politics until they have only one place to legally be.

"I was told by them that they would not invite a white friend there as the white person would be very uncomfortable around so many black people. This is where I got my information from."


This is ridiculous, and laugh-out-loud funny.

HootyWho 5 years, 4 months ago

seems like the shootings and stabbings follow every hip hop club that opens in Lawrence,,,its too bad that folks don't know how to act when they leave home,,,,

wavindawheat 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't think that this is the club's problem. This seems as though it is a city issue of identifying trouble spots in town and keeping the citizens of Lawrence safe regardless of who or where the crime comes from. If cops were not in the bars checking for ID's every night, they could focus their time patrolling the parking lot. Wouldn't it just be as cost effective to have a few squad cars around the area rather than waste tax payers money in court? Many gas stations have a patrol officer protecting the business from theft? Perhaps the club owners could pay the city to have an officer or two on Saturday nights. I bet the crime heads to I-70 and and departs from Iowa St. Then this wouldn't have to goto court and the city would a least still see the tax revenue that the club provides.

woodenfleaeater 5 years, 4 months ago

I may take a lawn chair, popcorn and a drink to the 821 parking lot about 1:45 or 2:00 in the morning. As long as I didn't get hit by a stray, it may be like watching an action movie, but in person.

jackpot 5 years, 4 months ago

wavindawheat: I have been in the BP on sat. nites if they stay open. Zarco and BP have been know to close because of the crowds from 821/axis. I've seen much police in and around the area so they are there and still have to waste tax payers money in court. This a problem for the area of the club as well as the club. Zarco had a gun deal about three or four weeks ago from the club ending in the Zarco lot. The spill over from the club trouble goes into McD's,Taco Bell, BK on 6th street as well as Perkins, IHop.

cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 4 months ago

"The spill over from the club trouble goes into McD's,Taco Bell, BK on 6th street as well as Perkins, IHop."

This seems a bit of a stretch to attribute to one club. This topic is devolving into a generic "The freaks come out at night" gripe.

flux 5 years, 4 months ago

Irish talked to some black people got the low down and is passing the word around........know what im saying? Its all good now..

puddleglum 5 years, 4 months ago

I agree with xbusguy! shut it down, be upfront

jackpot 5 years, 4 months ago

Hey 4 prez: listen to scanner traffic on Sat nite. LPD will say it's the group from 821. Not stretching with hearing statements from scanner traffic.

cthulhu_4_president 5 years, 4 months ago

Jackpot: that may be true, but it doesn't mean that the problem children from other clubs don't end up at McD's, Ihop, BK, etc. Without listening for myself, though, you could be correct. However I would ask how an officer stationed at McD's or Ihop who is witnessing trouble would automatically know that the perps were from club 821, specifically? Does one officer stay in the 821 parking lot and then relay information about suspects cars to other officers? Do they follow the patrons from the club as they leave? I'm not saying you're wrong, just that I would be more critical. All people are fallable, even when they are heard over a scanner.

familyx5 5 years, 4 months ago

How can anyone not say that this is not the club or owners fault. Anyone who has been to one of these"hip-hop" clubs will see that the security there is 100% better. They are all over the place doing their jobs....even if that is kicking someone out over a dress code violation. They patrol the parking lots to curb any chance of an altercation. I admit that I don't like the club or the crowd at the club, i think that the club with "proper" security could be a good thing. Has anyone ever wondered why that this type of "crowd" comes to lawrence....because they know that they will be able to do things here that they are not allowed to do in their towns....lets due this the right way, inseted of wasitng all this money tring to shut the place down just have them get security that will do its job, because it sure looks like the ones they have now dont really care about anything but the paycheck

familyx5 5 years, 4 months ago

sorry i ment to say any one who has been to one of these "hip-hop" clubs in Kansas City

Stuart Evans 5 years, 4 months ago

Irish (Irish Swearingen) says… I am not swayed by these carefully thought out arguments against the position I took. I spoke to several black people and they all told me that the club is an all black club. I was told by them that they would not invite a white friend there as the white person would be very uncomfortable around so many black people. This is where I got my information from.


these black friends of your sound racist. why would they assume that white people would be uncomfortable there? Is it because the black people that frequent that establishment would do all they could to make white people uncomfortable? Is there an all-white bar in Lawrence? If so, is it only because blacks don't think they would be comfortable there? why do you hang out with black people who obviously think that you (a white person) would be uncomfortable around them?

ANGEL27 5 years, 4 months ago

I hope they shut it down, burn it down whatever. That club is ridiculous. Only problem with shutting it down is the people that go there now are going to find another hang out at another club and it will be the same scene.

Why can't you retards just get along and you could keep your ghetto as bars. Or just move to KC or something and not come back.

ANGEL27 5 years, 4 months ago

And... to your comment familyx5, FYI most of the security aka bouncers there are just as high or worse than the people getting drunk inside of the club. Of course they can't do their job right.

KEITHMILES05 5 years, 4 months ago

Angel: Why don't you tell us how you really feel?

SAD.

gobigred 5 years, 4 months ago

I go to KU. All of my friends and I are keeping our fingers crossed that they keep Axis open, because if it gets shut down they'll be shooting up Brothers or The Ranch or any number of other bars that we like to go to. Then the stray bullets will start hitting productive members of society. Let the hood rats have their bar and shoot themselves if they want to.

gsxr600 5 years, 4 months ago

I go to KU. I can guarantee these "hood rats" won't go to the Ranch or Brothers if Axis shuts down.

wavindawheat 5 years, 4 months ago

Another topic... there was a shooting at the Hawk. Why isn't the city going after them? I'm sure the city gets plenty of revenue from the MIP's handed out.

Gareth Skarka 5 years, 4 months ago

So, can we assume that the city will be moving to shut down The Hawk, because of the shooting that occurred there in March?

What about The Replay after the repeated assaults that have occurred there (quick check of LJ World finds 2008, 2004, etc.)?

How about the 23rd Street Brewery? There was a shooting outside there in December.

The Cross Town Tavern? Shooting in the parking lot in June of last year....

Why hasn't there been an action on these?

flyin_squirrel 5 years, 4 months ago

Sure hope the Oread Inn has a "Nightclub" license for their dance club that replaced part of the parking garage. Otherwise the city might have to shut it down before it opens. They could use the excuse that it has no parking, since the garage will only be for hotel guests...

grammaddy 5 years, 4 months ago

There's some kind of trouble almost every weekend at the Cross Town Tavern. Why doesn't the city do something? Because it's on the East side. All the so-called "Hood rats" might migrate to the other bars in town. Keeping it open keeps most of the undesirables on their own side of town. The racism in this town, considering it's history, just appalls me.

soldier1 5 years, 4 months ago

Irish (Irish Swearingen) says… I am not swayed by these carefully thought out arguments against the position I took. I spoke to several black people and they all told me that the club is an all black club. I was told by them that they would not invite a white friend there as the white person would be very uncomfortable around so many black people. This is where I got my information from.


these black friends of your sound racist. why would they assume that white people would be uncomfortable there? Is it because the black people that frequent that establishment would do all they could to make white people uncomfortable? Is there an all-white bar in Lawrence? If so, is it only because blacks don't think they would be comfortable there? why do you hang out with black people who obviously think that you (a white person) would be uncomfortable around them?


No, these black "friends" of hers ARE racist, much like half the posters on this article. I am white, and use to frequent black clubs in Des Moines all of the time. Never felt uncomfortable, in fact, I was treated with respect. Maybe they though I was a crazy white boy... Anyways, all the more reason to shut this club down.

flyin_squirrel 5 years, 4 months ago

Never heard of a designation between bars and nightclubs in the zoning. Lawrence is going to be known as the town that banned dancing...

flyin_squirrel 5 years, 4 months ago

But don't worry, we can raise property taxes to make up for the lost revenue.

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