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Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Judge Chavez Dismissed Two Citations Issued To Club International
Police issued citations before property was designated a chronic nuisance property
By H. Nelson Goodson
July 28, 2009
Milwaukee - On Tuesday, Municipal Judge Phil Chavez dismissed two citations issued to the owners of Club International by police before it was designated a chronic nuisance property. They were issued on February 2, 2009 and each citation contends that Hussein (Mickey) Govani “failed to abate nuisance activity at the property after it was designated a Chronic Nuisance Property.” One citation charges a violation on Nov. 22, 2008 and the other violation on January 4, 2009.
Police Chief Edward A. Flynn, and the police department failed to follow proper procedure as describe per Chronic Nuisance ordinance. Govani’s property was designated for chronic nuisance before he was allowed to abate the nuisance activity and “after receiving notice.” He was never billed for three separate costs of enforcement within one year. Only then, Govani could have face a citation and forfeiture of not less than $1,000, nor more than $5,000 in fines.
Attorney Vince J. Bobot who represents Govani argued on Tuesday that police and the City of Milwaukee failed to prove that Club International was a chronic nuisance premises before issuing two citations to Govani. Police issued the citations before legally designating the property a nuisance, Judge Chavez agreed and dismissed the citations.
In March, the Milwaukee Common Council on recommendation from the Police Department suspended the license of Club International for 25 days because the property was designated by Chief Flynn as chronic nuisance property. Flynn illegally designated the property a chronic nuisance, before allowing Govani to resolve any alleged nuisance activity in his property.
Since then, police continued to monitor Club International business activity. On early Monday, the portable police cameras installed inside the Badger Mutual Insurance property on Friday, to monitor the weekend business activity of Club International across the street were removed by police officials.
When contacted Monday, Roy Bubeck, President and CEO of Badger Mutual Insurance said “Police had requested permission to install them in the Badger parking lot.” When asked, why were the cameras monitoring Club International weekend activity? Bubeck immediately responded “No Comment.”
Alderman Bob Donovan also said on Monday, he learned before Friday that the police cameras were going to be placed at Badger Insurance. Donovan drove thru the area and saw the cameras inside the Badger parking lot. “I voted to suspend the Club International liquor license in March,” because of prior police reports concerning various citations. Donovan did not object installing and using police cameras inside a business property to monitor another business activity across the street.
Alderman James Witkowiak when contacted on Monday said, he did not know that the police cameras were installed in the parking lot at Badger, but would look into it.
On Tuesday, Police Captain Donald J. Gaglione from District 2 said, the cameras were installed at Badger Insurance due to multiple citizen complaints that fights and patrons were causing nuisance while leaving Club International since it reopened. The cameras were installed in a secure area to prevent any vandalism to them. The W. National Ave. and Club International activity was being monitored from Police District 2. Captain Gaglione would not confirm, if Badger Insurance was a complainant. Gaglione added that he would consider reinstalling the cameras at Badger for this upcoming weekend. He also denied that any patrons from Club International were being harassed or intimidated by his officers. Gaglione stated that his job is to provide a secure and safe area for the community, and if the cameras need to be placed somewhere else where they are needed, “I will do so.”
Govani, who operates Club International said they decided to close the club on Friday and Saturday night. Govani and employees saw police officers stopping and questioning patrons soon after opening. Patrons complained to the club owner. Govani then decided to close the club to avoid his patrons getting harassed and intimidated by police.
Govani’s attorney filed an open records request on Monday with various City of Milwaukee departments. Govani wants copies of any citizen or official complaints to aldermen, the mayor that were filed with city departments and City Hall including the Milwaukee Police Department concerning his Club International business.
Last Friday, police personal installed a portable unit with cameras just after 5:00 p.m. in the fenced parking lot of Badger Mutual Insurance, 1635 W. National Ave. Apparently, Captain Gaglione from the Police District 2, 245 W. Lincoln Ave. approved the installation in order to provide surveillance targeted at Hip-Hop Club International, 721 S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr. with cooperation from Bubeck.
The only open space the police camera can actually cover is North towards the popular Hip-Hop club which attracts a crowd over the age of 25, according to its web site. It seems, that Bubeck is not too happy with the club that is popular to Blacks, and attracts thugs into the area, according to a local business owner. Badger Mutual Insurance has also installed cameras around their property and one behind the Community Financial Service Center (Check Cashing Place) on 801 S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr. facing North directly to the entrance of Club International.
Bubeck owns several buildings and rooming houses along W. National and adjacent to Club International. National Avenue Hotel, 1700 W. National Ave. and Badger Properties building at 1630 W. National Ave. are owned and managed by Badger Mutual Insurance.
Prior complaints by nearby residents, fines and citations for disorderly conduct to several club employees (the employees were later terminated) and loud noise by patrons in the club’s parking lot and nearby were recorded by the City of Milwaukee against Club International. The complaints and police incident reports led to temporarily suspended the Club International license for 25 days on March 9, 2009, according to Alderman Ashanti Hamilton.
Club International is operated by Homestyle Restaurant Group, LLC and owned by Govani. Govani in March went before the Licenses Committee to reapply for a Class “B” Tavern and Tavern Amusement (Cabaret/Nite Club) renewal applications.
Despite that the club has installed more cameras, hired more security guards, replaced employees, added an ID scanner, raised their minimum age requirement to 25 years of age, the owners of Club International say they are now being targeted for shutdown of their entertainment venue.