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Posts Tagged ‘The Vice Group’

From the February 2015 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

On January 5, a judge ordered that the liquor license for JP’s Lounge (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) be turned over to the federal government as part of a plea deal in a cocaine trafficking case. The defendant, Lawrence Carl Nelson, pled guilty of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Nelson, a co-owner of the license, is believed to have bankrolled the club’s 2012 purchase by a partnership known as The Vice Group. Also seized by the feds was a $1 million promissory note from The Vice Group to Nelson, according to the judge’s order.

The strip club was evicted from its building last July for nonpayment of rent, and the building has been vacant since then. The landlords found the original liquor license on the premises and turned it over to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration for safekeeping.

Meanwhile, the club’s former owner, Michael Papanicolas, is suing The Vice Group and its spokesman, Paul Kadlick, for breach of contract. Papanicolas claims he is owed at least $375,000 from the 2012 sale. There was a hearing on the case held January 9, but no defendants showed up. Another hearing has been scheduled for March 27.

As for the building, the owners of The Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.) are in talks to move to the larger JP’s space. Although neither the landlords nor the Mason Inn owners are talking publicly about the negotiations, the Georgetown Current has reported that the Mason Inn owners are interested in purchasing the building.

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From the October 2014 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

JP’s Lounge (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) may have closed, but its drama lives on. In July, the strip club’s former owner, Michael Papanicolas, sued the company he sold it to, Wisconsin Ventures LLC, for breach of contract. (Two months after the August, 2012 sale, Wisconsin Ventures turned the club over to The Vice Group, a different company with some of the same owners.)

Papanicolas’s complaint alleges that Wisconsin Ventures still owes him $375,000 from the deal. Paul Kadlick, a principal of Wisconsin Ventures and spokesman for The Vice Group, is named as a co-defendant in the suit. According to the complaint, the total purchase price for the club was $600,000, and Papanicolas received a hefty down payment, as well as scheduled monthly payments of $1,500 through last September. “Since October 1, 2013, and through the present, Plaintiff has not received any payments whatsoever,” the complaint states. Neither Kadlick nor Wisconsin Ventures has formally responded to the suit, according to court documents. JP’s has been closed since July, when its operators were evicted for nonpayment of rent.

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JP's eviction, shot by a citizen journalistWe hear that a U.S. Marshall is currently [on the morning of July 17] overseeing the eviction of JP’s Lounge (2412 Wisconsin Ave.). The strip club’s belongings span the sidewalk space from Z-Burger (2414 Wisconsin Ave.) down to Heads & Nails (2352 Wisconsin Ave.), an eyewitness reports.

The club had filed for bankruptcy protection on June 20, but Judge S. Martin Teel dismissed the case on July 2. JP’s corporate holding company, BJ Enterprises, had sought to represent itself in the suit, but that is not allowed in bankruptcy court. “It is well-established that corporate entities such as the debtor are not permitted to appear pro-se and must be represented and appear through counsel,” Teel’s order states.

JP’s shut down temporarily in early June, after the Office of Tax and Revenue placed a $654,077.87 lien on the business for back sales tax. Although that lien was almost certainly at least partly in error—since it included tax owed for several years when the club generated no sales—an OTR representative declined to confirm that the club’s tax debts had been paid in full.

Meanwhile, it seems the club’s landlord, a group of members of the Alafoginis family, had filed suit against the corporate owner of BJ Enterprises, The Vice Group, on January 27 of last year, according to landlord-tenant court records. A writ of restitution—basically, permission to evict the tenant—was approved by the court on May 13.

We have called representatives of the Vice Group and the Alafoginis family for details and will update when we hear back.

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On August 13, two men—Jason K. Daniel and Philip M. Mathew—applied to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration to take over the liquor license for the dormant JP’s Night Club (2412 Wisconsin Ave.). On their application, the men listed themselves as the president, secretary, and managing member (Daniel) and vice president and treasurer (Mathew) of Wisconsin Ventures, LLC, the corporation that owns JP’s.

Last year, Local Man of Mystery Brian Petruska identified himself to ABRA as the president, secretary, and manager of Wisconsin Ventures. Now that Daniel holds those titles, where does that leave Petruska—let alone Paul Kadlick and Gokhan “Jake” Akkus, who in May represented themselves to ANC 3B as having bought a 90 percent share of JP’s?

We spoke to Kadlick, and he tried to explain the matryoshka doll of holding companies that now surrounds the strip club. Due to unspecified business and tax considerations, Kadlick says, he and Akkus did not end up purchasing the club directly. Instead, a partnership called The Vice Group purchased 90 percent of the shares in Wisconsin Ventures. The remaining 10 percent of the stock in Wisconsin Ventures was retained by Brian Petruska. Wisconsin Ventures owns a company called BJ Enterprises, which owns the JP’s license.

Kadlick is the authorized spokesperson for The Vice Group, but he insists that he does not hold an ownership stake in that group. Daniel and Mathew, who do hold ownership stakes, are both area nightclub promoters and managers who “are longtime associates of mine,” says Kadlick. They will be responsible for the club’s day-to-day operations, he adds. We asked Kadlick how he stood to gain from JP’s without being an owner, and he told us that the business is part of a larger structure of deals he could not discuss.

Last week, several Glover Park civic leaders sent a letter to ABRA chief Fred Moosally expressing concerns about the transfer application. In the letter, ANC commissioners Jackie Blumenthal and Brian Cohen, Glover Park Citizens’ Association president Sheila Meehan, and attorney Milton Grossman called upon ABRA to transfer the JP’s license only to “people who have demonstrated their qualification to run a legal, above-board operation.” The liquor board seems likely to go ahead with the transfer, though. In response to our inquiry, ABRA spokesman Bill Hager reminded us that, no matter who holds the license, JP’s will have to survive a public protest period before it’s allowed to reopen.

Kadlick plans to attend the September 13 ANC meeting, where he will discuss the club’s security and valet parking arrangements. He says the ANC should be reassured by his knowledge of the neighborhood and its needs. “I’m not embarrassed to tell you I’ve been a patron of JP’s for 20 years,” he says. “It’s an upscale neighborhood, and we’re going to cater to that customer.”

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