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City: Fremont East nightclub poses public safety concerns

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Christopher DeVargas

Formerly known as Red, 512 is a nightclub and sports bar on Fremont East. Las Vegas officials and Metro Police say the business poses a safety hazard to those visiting the area.

Tue, Dec 3, 2019 (2 a.m.)

A Fremont East nightclub with a history of allegedly violent security staff poses a public safety hazard that must be addressed, according to complaints written by city of Las Vegas officials and Metro Police.

Sports bar and nightclub 512, formerly known as RED, has not complied with the city’s business license requirements and has failed to address violent acts committed by security officials and other employees, complaints state. The Department of Planning is requesting that the city council set a date for a hearing to determine appropriate disciplinary action against the business, which could include fines, or suspension or revocation of the business license.

Since it opened in 2016, 512 has repeatedly violated the conditions of its business license by failing to control lines outside, to keep firearms off the premises, to comply with its own security plan and to keep patrons safe, the department claims. Rather, the business has been “promoting, causing, allowing and enabling a public nuisance,” the department reports.

Owner Rod Perdew blames the issues on out-of-control visitors on Fremont Street, saying he has responded to and addressed all of the city’s concerns. He suggested the investigation by Metro and the Planning Department is “politically motivated,” possibly by another downtown business owner who might be interested in taking over the storefront on Fremont Street.

“I believe we’re being railroaded, and it doesn’t make sense to me when I’m completely adhering to everything (the city) is requesting,” he said.

Metro couldn’t comment on the alleged issues, citing the ongoing investigation by the department and city. But reports from the Planning Department and Metro detail numerous incidents in which the 512 staff allegedly acted with excessive force against patrons and did not call police when necessary. They include:

• Aug. 23, 2018: Staff allegedly removed two female patrons using excessive force and with no explanation. They were shoved out of the club’s rear entrance, causing one victim to fall on the staircase and bruise her arms, the side of her body and her knees, according to the victim’s account to police.

• May 5: A fight broke out in front of the nightclub and a gun allegedly fell onto the sidewalk during the commotion, according to police. Witnesses claim that an unknown individual then grabbed the gun and ran, but nightclub staff did not call the police.

• May 12: A man was found passed out on the ground after allegedly being knocked unconscious by an employee. Staff made no attempts to help the individual or call 911 and were “uncooperative” when later questioned by police, Metro documents say.

• May 17: Staff at the club allegedly kicked out three patrons who had been wearing hats, a violation of the club’s dress code, and then punched one of them without provocation until he fell to the ground, according to Metro. The victim was found lying there and the club did not call the police.

Perdew said he took action after the May 17 incident. While he insists the patron first attacked the security guard, Perdew said the action of the guard was “clearly, absolutely wrong.”

“I fired the entire staff and remedied that problem,” he added.

Perdew denied the other allegations, calling them one-sided accounts from disgruntled patrons likely under the influence of alcohol.

“Why would any security guard punch someone arbitrarily?” he said.

Metro also accuses the business of allowing members of the Chosen Few motorcycle club to enter the nightclub without being patted down by security. In addition, undercover officers were able to enter the nightclub with concealed firearms on two occasions, documents state.

Since meeting with city officials about the problems, 512 has purchased metal detector equipment to keep weapons out as well as barrier poles to contain crowds coming into the nightclub, Perdew said. Having allegedly failed to comply with its own security plan, 512 also submitted a new security plan that is currently under review by the city, deputy planning director Mary McElhone said.

“Now, we’ve gone over six months without a single incident,” Perdew said.

The city council will hear the complaints against the business Wednesday and vote on a date for a disciplinary hearing. Perdew hopes that the complaints will be resolved without a hearing.

“We’ve done one hell of a job over the last six months, and to now have to go to a potential hearing that could cause revocation doesn’t sit well with me,” he said.

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