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Posts Tagged ‘Brian Petruska’

From the April 2012 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

The owners of 2412 Wisconsin Ave., the former site of JP’s Night Club, are in lease negotiations with a prospective tenant for the long-vacant property, according to Barbara Alafoginis, who is both the leasing realtor and a member of the family group that owns the building. Alafoginis says she’s “not at liberty” to reveal the identity of the would-be tenant, though.

It’s hard to figure out what this means. JP’s has been closed since its original building was destroyed in a January, 2008 fire. Last year, the strip club signed a lease to return to the reconstructed property, but that deal apparently fell through, and the building was later listed for lease by an agency that specializes in restaurant clientele.

Now, that agency is out, and Alafoginis has become the leasing agent. (She’s also the listing agent on the building, which is for sale.) Meanwhile, the JP’s liquor license—which can only be used at 2412 Wisconsin Ave.—is in the hands of a mysterious new owner named Brian Petruska, who provided a nonworking telephone number to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and whose attorney, representative, Andrew Kline of the Veritas law firm, won’t return our calls even to say “no comment.” Hmph. (UPDATE: A tipster points out that Kline’s license to practice law in the District is currently suspended for violating “numerous Rules of Professional Conduct,” including forging a client’s signature, commingling funds, and deceiving a client about a case.)

The best we can say is that something is up. Given the rarity and high price of liquor licenses that allow nude dancing in the District, it seems at least possible that JP’s is angling for a comeback.

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The former home of JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) has been listed for sale at $2.4 million. The building is also for lease.

Where this leaves the dormant liquor license for JP’s—one of the few in the District that allows nude dancing—is unclear. The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration approved the license’s transfer to a new owner, one Brian Petruska, in October, and it seemed JP’s would reopen. But a lease on the building signed by the former owner of JP’s last summer must not be in force. Restrictions on where strip clubs can operate in the District are so onerous that it’s unlikely JP’s could reopen anywhere other than its old location, which was destroyed in a 2008 fire.

We’ve requested comment from involved parties but haven’t heard anything back yet.

UPDATE: We can now definitively say that no one’s talking. Two members of the family group that owns the building—including Barbara Alafoginis, the listing real estate agent—failed to respond to emailed requests for comment. The phone number Petruska provided to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) has been disconnected, and Petruska’s representative, Andrew Kline of the Veritas law firm, failed to respond to multiple phone messages left with his receptionist over the course of several days. If you hear anything about the future of JP’s, let us know! Our confidential email tips line is csctips at gmail dot com.

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From the November 2011 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) finally has a new owner: as the Gazette foretold, a man named Brian Petruska now controls the dormant strip club’s liquor license. The original JP’s building was destroyed in a January 2008 fire, and the replacement structure has sat vacant for more than a year. But on October 19, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board approved an application to transfer the club’s recently renewed liquor license from BJ Enterprises—a company held by longtime JP’s owner Michael Papanicolas—to Wisconsin Ventures LLC, a company held by Petruska, who is identified on the application as President/Secretary and Manager of Wisconsin Ventures.

According to the application, the business will not change substantially with the transfer: when it reopens, JP’s will be a restaurant serving sandwiches and burgers and featuring “non-sexually oriented nude dancers,” whatever those are. In September, the ABC Board ruled that neighbors would be allowed to formally challenge the liquor license before the club reopens. A recent neighborhood challenge to the license’s renewal was unsuccessful, though it did result in a later start time for nude dancing.

The phone number listed on the transfer application as the JP’s “business telephone” was not in service, and we have been unable to locate Petruska for comment.

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From the June 2011 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

The potential new owner of JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) has been revealed. At a May 11 hearing about the dormant strip club’s liquor license, Brian Petruska was introduced as the would-be buyer of the club. Attorney James Charles, who represents the club’s current owner, says that in the spring of 2010, Petruska signed a contract to buy all of JP’s corporate stock. That contract was contingent upon Petruska’s signing a lease with the owners of the vacant building, which replaced a building gutted by a 2008 fire.

Last fall, Charles says, Petruska walked away from the deal, but later returned to the bargaining table with new conditions, including that the club prevail against two parties now protesting the renewal of its liquor license: the Advisory Neighborhood Commission and a group of neighbors represented by attorney Milton Grossman.

A protest hearing on the license renewal was scheduled for May 25, after our press date. (See the Georgetown Current’s report on the hearing here.) The protesting parties were set to argue that the strip club is no longer appropriate for increasingly kid-centric Glover Park. Charles says the charge is without merit. “The business has been there for 22 years,” he says. “The neighborhood hasn’t changed as far as I can see. There are no new schools, libraries, or churches.”

But even if the JP’s license survives that challenge, there may be another in store. The license is currently in an escrow-like state called “safekeeping,” and the protesting parties argue that a second protest hearing should be held when the license is removed from safekeeping—that is, when the club’s interior is fully finished and the club is ready to open. According to Charles, Petruska won’t invest in the building’s interior if there’s another protest looming, which means the wrangling could end with a stalemate that would keep JP’s closed.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is expected to rule within three months on the current protests, and within two months on whether a second protest period will be needed. Our efforts to reach Petruska for comment were not successful.

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