Denver officials on Wednesday permanently shut down Beta Nightclub after finding it violated multiple laws by hiring unlicensed security guards, allowing people to drink after hours and creating an atmosphere where fighting was common.
The decision to revoke the club’s licenses by the Denver Department of Excise and Licensing follows more than four months of deliberations as the nightclub’s owner, Valentes Corleons, tried to stave off the city’s attempt to close his club. City officials and police began to focus on the club after a series of shootings on its Lower Downtown block. Police tied at least one of the shootings to the club.
Corleons, whose legal name is Hussam Kayali, previously disputed the city’s allegations and said he could not be held responsible for the actions of others. He previously said that the city was unfairly targeting him. Beta announced Sunday in a Facebook post that it would be closed until further notice. The post defends Corleons and said he was guilty of nothing.
Denver police officers working undercover or off-duty in the club reported almost nightly fights and patrons wearing blatant gang insignia. One undercover officer got into the club while carrying a firearm, according to the order closing the club.
“Testimony from DPD Officer Glasby indicated that fights were so frequent at the licensed premises that the nights with no fights were the exception,” a licensing official wrote in the order revoking Beta’s licenses. “Though Respondent objected to the frequency of physical fights on the license premises, Mr. Kayali himself testified that fights occurred at the club at least monthly.”
The revocation of Beta’s licenses comes four days after the city suspended the licenses for another of Corleons’ establishments, Cabin Tap House, following a New Year’s Day shooting at the bar in which two people died and two others were wounded.
“The disruptive and illegal activities associated with the licensed establishment have created an unsafe and hazardous condition and the continued operation of the establishment in this manner would be a danger to the public health, welfare and safety of the community,” Molly Duplechian, deputy director of the licensing department, wrote in the order suspending the bar’s license.
The day after the shooting, Corleons posted an image on Facebook that said: “I’m closing Beta Nightclub. That’s it. I’m done.”
Cabin Tap House is located next door to Beta. Corleons opened the tap house last year. The bar is closed until the city holds a hearing on its future.
The order revoking Beta’s licenses also states that Corleons tried to bribe a Denver police officer to help his cause during the legal process. Corleons also attempted to intimidate Denver police and firefighters by stating he was a member of the Sicilian mafia group La Cosa Nostra, the order states.
“Mr. Kayali knew of lax enforcement of club rules, knew or should have known that law violations were occurring, and that any such violations would put the Respondent at risk of closure,” the order states. “His substantial presence at the licensed premises, taken with other facts, indicates a complete disregard for the law.”
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