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Arnold M. Knightly

Privé gets limited liquor license

2 September 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- County commissioners are keeping the Privé nightclub at Planet Hollywood Resort on a short leash, at least for a few more weeks.

Commissioners on Tuesday opted not to issue Privé an extended temporary liquor license and ordered officials from the nightclub and resort to return for another hearing Oct. 6 because of continuing incidents at the nightclub, including the inability of Metro detectives to immediately enter the club last weekend.

Privé, and its ultralounge the Living Room, however, will remain open under a 30-day temporary license while police and the county's Business License Department continue to monitor the clubs.

The 30-day license was scheduled to expire later this month, but commissioners extended it until Oct. 6 because attorneys for the nightclub would be unable to attend the next commission meeting in two weeks.

Commissioners, however, also indicated they had some reservations about issuing the nightclub a 90-day license because of incidents since the club reopened Aug. 21.

Their main concern involved an incident where Planet Hollywood security personnel made Metro detectives wait nearly 15 minutes before they were allowed to enter the club.

Barry Reinink, a detective with Metro's special investigations, blamed the incident on a training issue involving a new employee at the resort.

The problem was resolved during a regular meeting between the nightclub, the resort, the business license officials and Metro police, Reinink said.

Commissioner Larry Brown said ensuring Metro has immediate access to the club is the most important aspect of being able to regulate the clubs' activities.

"That's the only way you are our eyes and ears," Brown said to Reinink. "If there is not carte blanche entry for your ability to do that job, then I would have serious reservations on supporting this."

Commissioner Steve Sisolak echoed Brown's concern. "If there's a stall at the door, it's a problem."

The two clubs were closed in late July after their liquor licenses were revoked because of a series of citations that were issued in 2008, including one involving instances where the club's security managers stalled or interfered with routine compliance inspections.

Compliance inspections include ensuring that patrons are being properly carded at the front door and ensuring that employees have work and alcohol awareness cards.

Business License Director Jacqueline Holloway said other incidents of concern to commissioners involved a call to Metro after some disruptive customers were escorted from Privé and the suspension of a Privé employee who was found not to have his work card during a surprise county inspection.

Privé and Planet Hollywood officials reported each incident promptly to the Business License Department, Holloway said.

Frank Schreck, the attorney for Planet Hollywood, also fielded questions about an agreement for Privé to reimburse the resort part of a $500,000 fine that was levied against the resort in July.

Schreck assured the commission that the club's agreement to repay part of the fine will not affect how the resort polices the club.

"The $200,000 we may lose from Privé if there are additional problems is a small price to pay for our gaming license," Schreck said. "This is an incidental business to Planet Hollywood. More important to us is our relationship with the state Gaming Control Board. We will do everything we can to protect that relationship. Part of that is to oversee the operations of not just Privé but every one of one our tenants that we don't directly own or manage."

Planet Hollywood was fined "for failing to maintain sufficient control over" Privé, which leases the space from the resort.

The resort will have to pay another $250,000 fine if a similar complaint is filed against the hotel-casino before July 31, 2011.

Privé has agreed to reimburse Planet Hollywood $375,000; $125,000 of the fine has already been repaid. The Gaming Control Board, which levied the fine against the resort, has agreed to the reimbursement plan.