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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Closed After Shooting, Spy Bar Fights For Its Liquor License

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2008 at 8:00 AM

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Martin Elson testified that Spy Bar was a nuisance. But the bar's owners say Elson's the nuisance getting a close up of the above booty.
As the Plain Dealer reported yesterday, the final hearing for beleaguered hip-hop club Spy Bar’s liquor license was held Tuesday morning. The club already closed due to controversy surrounding a July 4th shooting in a nearby parking lot. Its owners plan to re-open it with a new name and image. But city council, led by downtown councilman Joe Cimperman, wants to revoke its license and keep the owners from reopening a new club. "They have a perception in their heads that hip-hop equals blacks,” the club’s lawyer, Subodh Chandra, told the the paper, “and blacks equal trouble." But what the PD neglected to publicize was the most unusual aspect of the hearing, as introduced by Chandra and Spy Bar: Booty. And not just irrelevant booty, either. This booty had a point to make. ... One of the arguments the city had used against Spy was that it was “degrading the public morality.” Disbarred lawyer Martin Elson, a Warehouse District resident, had testified that the Spy Bar was loud, raucous, and a nuisance. But at yesterday's hearing, Spy Bar presented photos of a beady-eyed fellow who bears an uncanny resemblance Elson, readying his digital camera and then taking a photo of a scantily clad dancer’s crotch at former hotspot Beach Club on Halloween. The message of Chandra and Co.’s photos: this guy has a little too much Pacman Jones in him to be testifying about morality. Of course, Elson also once pleaded guilty to a felony money-laundering scheme. But as they say, a picture of a dude taking a picture of some booty is worth a thousand words. Why dredge up old indictments when you can present the guy aiming a high-powered digital camera, like a lost nature photographer, at a woman’s special place located only a few inches from his nose? Elson could not be reached to confirm or deny that it is, in fact, his queasy grin in the photo. -- Gus Garcia-Roberts

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