Bar violence draws fine, suspension

Club Malibu owner to pay $4,800

board orders a 45-day closure

November 17, 2006|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,sun reporter

The owner of a Baltimore bar called Club Malibu where 12 people were stabbed, cut or beaten in a two-week span in late October had his license suspended for 45 days and was fined $4,800 by the city liquor board yesterday for failing to maintain a safe and orderly establishment, as well as other health and administrative violations.

"You can't continue to do what you are doing," liquor board Chairman Mark S. Fosler told club owner James Micklos at the hearing at City Hall. "It's not good for you, it's not good for the neighborhood and it's not good for the city."

During holidays

Liquor board Commissioner Edward Smith Jr. said he wanted to shut down Micklos for good and put him "out on the street," but that he decided to go along with Fosler. Fosler said later that the suspension probably would hit Micklos hard because it falls during the holidays.

During the hearing, which lasted several hours, police officers provided new information about their investigation into violence at Club Malibu, which was the scene of violent outbreaks on three consecutive weekends in October, according to police testimony and reports.

On Oct. 8, a man was stabbed and another was cut, according to police reports. On Oct. 14, a man was stabbed and another beaten. And on Oct. 21, three patrons were stabbed, two cut, one beaten and another struck with an unknown object, according to police reports.

Call from restroom

Police said yesterday that some of the Oct. 21 victims called 911 from cell phones in one of the club's restrooms. They told police they had barricaded themselves in the restroom and were afraid to leave for fear of further attacks by other patrons.

Police Detective Dawnyell Taylor told the liquor board that after the series of attacks Oct. 21 there was "blood on practically every surface." Later, she showed a reporter crime photos that showed blood splattered on floors, walls and doors.

Taylor said that one man has been arrested in connection with one of the brawls that resulted in injuries and that a number of arrest warrants had been issued. She said police are trying to identify those involved in the fights and that the investigation into violence at Club Malibu was far from complete.

Harassment claim

In his defense, Micklos, who also owns a painting and drywall business, told the liquor board that police officers were harassing him and that some had admitted to him that their supervisors wanted to shut the club down. Micklos also told the board that he intends to sell the property, in the 1300 block of S. Ponca St., in the Canton Industrial Area, for $1.3 million as soon as possible.

Micklos also denied an allegation by City Councilman James B. Kraft, who testified at the hearing, that the club owner had threatened a woman in Kraft's district, which covers Southeast Baltimore. Kraft said the woman called the city to complain about Club Malibu fliers that had been distributed in her neighborhood in violation of a new law.

Kraft's bill

Kraft introduced the bill that led to the law, which prohibits the placement of commercial fliers on private property without the owner's permission.

"It's one thing to violate the flier law, but to come to the home of a citizen and threaten that person, that's a grave concern to me," said Kraft, who added that he does not believe Micklos should be allowed to operate Club Malibu or any other city bar.

Micklos said he did not distribute fliers for his bar and had not received a citation notice from the city. He said he does not know who the man was who Kraft said identified himself to the woman as the owner of Club Malibu.

"He'll never get my vote," Micklos said, referring to Kraft, whose district includes the area where the bar is.

Later, Micklos told a reporter that he was working with FBI agents, who he said were looking into his allegations of police harassment.

Police have denied any wrongdoing, stating that they are trying to keep the neighborhood near the bar safe.

"We'll see what they find," said Micklos, referring to federal agents he claimed were looking into the matter.

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