Shots Fired: Councilman Calls To Shut It Down!

This has not been a good summer for nightclub owners in downtown Cleveland. Or for their patrons—especially the ones who have gotten shot.

Thankfully or not, Cleveland City Councilman Joe "Development, Development!" Cimperman is really into the idea of closing down these dubious houses of ill repute.

He was tangentially successful with Lounge 75 (near Public Square), which was the site of a murderous shooting last month. Witnesses claimed that a fight broke out inside the club and ended in tragedy out on the street. One man was killed and a woman was injured. A shooting took place at that same spot two years ago, back when it was known as Club Allure. Note: This joint is RIGHT DOWN THE STREET from the Justice Center.

Cimperman publicly vowed to strip the club of its liquor license, but landlord Dan Dzina stepped in and just shut the whole mess down. It's probably for the best, and it's probably a more appropriate source for closure.

Next up, according to the councilman: Tops and Bottoms, the gentleman's club just off East 9th. Cimperman summed up his approach to 19 Action News recently: "Because we want people to know with all the investment happening downtown, the casino, and everything else, that people are safe and that we are committed to keeping downtown a safe place to visit." It's worth noting that his little Gilbertian slip—"the casino"—doesn't seem to contrast too well against the self-made backdrop of seedy downtown clubs. Ho hum.

But the purview expands further, as Cimperman looks to some sort of future paved with the receipts of Whole Foods customers and the glint of hard-won Horseshoe nickel.

He wants Tomo on West 9th shut down due to concerns about music and the club's overall operating agreement. He wants Anatomy, also in the Warehouse District, shut down following a major fight earlier this year.

The list inevitably continues. Last weekend, Crazy Horse on St. Clair Avenue was the site of a 2-a.m. shooting. The victim told officers he was walking to his truck when someone came out of nowhere and shot him in the back. Crazy Horse's owner Al Spencer says that surveillance video shows the suspect coming from another nearby business—not his club.

Nonetheless, snatching liquor licenses or voicing a desire to shut down businesses is little more than a piecemeal route to... something far from guaranteed safety for out-of-town gamblers.

A man is dead following a night gone horribly wrong at Lounge 75. Elsewhere in the city, a lawmaker fumes. And elsewhere still in this corner of the world, another person is shot over a long holiday weekend. No quarter and certainly no answers are given along the way.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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