Police, neighborhood groups target Indianapolis nightclubs

Call 6 investigation finds liquor license issues

INDIANAPOLIS - Several clubs where people go to dance, drink and dine are becoming a burden on public safety, and neighborhood groups are upset about reports of noise, shootings and fights.

There are hundreds of businesses with a liquor permit in Marion County, most of them in good standing, adhering to a long list of rules.

For those that don't follow the rules, removing a permit can take months after police and neighborhood groups show proof of problems.

Felix Achoch, from Kenya, went to Club Tadkaa on Lafayette Road in July. An argument that began inside spilled outside. Achoch died after he was struck in the head several times.

Achoch had dreams of playing soccer for Indianapolis' new professional team, Indy Eleven.

"It was a big loss for us, a very great one," said Peter Achoch, Felix's father.

The night of Achoch's death, fliers indicated Tadkaa was operating as Club Vision.

The Call 6 Investigators have uncovered a pattern in which liquor permit holders have allowed third parties to rent their facilities and use their license to serve alcohol, a violation of state law.

There are a number of businesses with permits in good standing despite police concern.

"We're finding it's a serious problem," said Indianapolis police Sgt. William Carter. "I've been on location where I've asked for the owner. No one knows who the owner is."

Chispas Nightclub on Indianapolis' west side has drawn police attention. In October, officers responded to several fights in the parking lot.

One person was shot and two were stabbed outside the club in September. The event inside was hosted under the name Club Black Diamond.

In January, Chispas was ticketed for allowing minors inside and for not serving food, which is required by law of any place that serves alcohol.

Chispas' liquor permit expires in April 2014. Neighborhood groups are upset.

"We believe if it's a problematic location, there should be a suspension put on that alcohol license until a decision is remedied," said Susan Blair, a neighborhood advocate.

State records show G&W Partners, owned by Ryan Greb, runs Club Molly in downtown Indianapolis. In January, February and May, Indianapolis police responded to fights outside the club.

G&W Partners still holds a state-issued liquor permit although Greb is on a payment plan to repay $74,000 in sales tax on alcohol.

Greb turned himself in after deputies went to his home to arrest him in connection to a forgery case involving his liquor permit application.

The Department of Revenue closed Club Molly and the company's Beale Street Bar, removing boxes of documents.

"We keep documenting, and documenting. When that renewal comes up, we have a large case." Carter said.

Every county has a local alcohol beverage board that decides who can get a liquor permit.

While the boards can recommend action, they can't suspend or revoke a permit. That action can only be taken by the state's Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.

A commission spokesperson declined to be interviewed but sent a detailed statement listing a plan to step up enforcement that included:

  • Adding temporary clerical staff to process a backlog of violation reports
  • Streamlining the review of complaints to speed up decisions by several months
  • Implementing new software that will report violations to state regulators in real time

Read the statement: http://bit.ly/Iir8oQ

"It's frustrating that the city can't move faster, because the slower they move, the sooner someone else will lose their life," said Daniel Foster, Achoch's brother.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Commission has open cases involving Club Molly and Chispas. RTV6 has attempted to contact the owners of all the clubs in this story. Neither the owners nor their legal teams have responded.
 

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