City Paper Widget

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tropicalia Assault Case Report: No Blame on Club

The owner of the dance club Tropicalia (2001 14th Street NW) gave a freshly-minted official report to a committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street on March 18. This report, the owner said, exonerated his club of any wrong-doing concerning two alleged cases of assault by club bouncers against women customers -- see SALM blog post of January 22.

Tropicalia is in the basement of this building at 14th and U
Jesse Cornelius, Public Affairs Specialist at DC's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), said in an email the report (see copy here) states that ABRA "took the matter under consideration and decided to take no further action."

The chair of the liquor-licensing affairs committee, Nick Baumann, began the discussion as a part of the committee's regularly-scheduled committee meeting. Baumann had invited both the customers and the club ownership to the meeting to discuss the incident, and both sides were present.

"It's not our role to rule on the facts," Baumann said.

Baumann then said ABRA had not yet ruled on the case. It was at that moment that Tropicalia owner Amanollah Ayoubi first informed the committee of the ABRA report's existence. Ayoubi said the report had been issued that day and had "dismissed the case". He gave the committee a copy of the report.

Ayoubi was given the floor and disputed much of the customers' version of events as presented to the committee in January. The owner's version of events largely agrees with that presented in the ABRA report. For example, one customer stated at the January committee meeting she had been assaulted by the nightclub bouncer. However, the report says the only assault that occurred at that time was when the woman struck the bouncer after refusing to leave.

The owner also said there was no video of the incident. The club keeps surveillance camera video for two weeks. They were notified by ABRA of the investigation 17 days after the incident took place, the owner said.

The owner also accused the customers of waging an unfair campaign against the club on social media.

ANC Commissioner John Green (district 12 -- where Tropicalia is located) asked if the bouncer involved in the incident was still working at Tropicalia.

Another member of the management team said the bouncer involved in the incident had left -- "for unrelated reasons".

The customers who had made the allegations and their allies sat silently while the owner talked to the committee. When he was finished, Baumann asked if they wished to say anything. One of them took up his offer.

"The reason I came before this body was to give you a heads up," she said.

She said she had been "attacked and injured" at the club and a report had been "filed with the prosecutor". However, she said, she understood the owner's perspective.

"I want to prevent that from happening again," she said.

Barring further developments, this seems to be the end of the case. The committee did not take any action or any vote on this matter at the meeting.

(Photo credit: Google Street View)

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