An '87-'88 Boston rap sheet on Whiting obtained by the Phoenix shows mostly nickel-and-dime stuff: trespassing and disorderly; a disorderly person; two defaults; possession of a class-D substance (reportedly half a marijuana joint); and, more seriously, possession of a .38-caliber firearm. Although police sources say Whiting has either beaten or delayed these charges, the Phoenix was unable to determine the disposition of all the cases.
In January the licensing board rejected Whiting's request for licensure. In its April 6 statement of reasons, the board noted that though police portrayed Whiting as having "extensive prior involvement in the criminal justice system," the applicant had said his only record was "for being a disorderly person and speeding." The board concluded of Whiting: "His ostensible goal is to provide a distraction for neighborhood youngsters who might otherwise be idle or troublesome. That mission might be more easily accomplished by methods directly stated and legitimately pursued."
At a January 31 hearing on Whiting's application to the second body, the Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing, commissioner Diane Modica took up alleged licensed-premises violations at Crown hall. At about 11:40 p.m. last New Year's Eve, Boston Police Detectives Ken Jameson and Frank Graham had heard music floating out of Crown Hall, despite the fact that the premises had been denied a one-time entertainment license. Inside the officers found about 200 people and record albums, CDs, and cassettes. They did not, they said, find any use-and-occupancy permit.
On the night of January 5, Jameson and Graham returned to 48 Geneva, and encountered a similar scene--including a DJ and about 70 people--but, alas, no entertainment license, use-and-occupancy permit, or inspectional certificate posted on the premises.
Also at the hearing before Modica, Sister Virginia Morrison, a Muslim and president of the Grove Hall Neighborhood Development Corporation, testified against the licensure of Crown Hall, which sits in the heart of Boston's gang war zone. And Officer Crossen testified that the mother of 17-year-old Yolanda Carter had told police that on the night of January 27 her daughter had gone to Crown Hall with some friends, but that the club had been closed. After a series of beefs that moved away from the locale, Yolanda Carter was stabbed to death, becoming the city's 11th homicide victim this year.
Whiting argued at the January 31 hearing that his club was a private, for-members-only operation and did not need an entertainment license. But Modica was not swayed by his argument. At the hearing Whiting couldn't provide a clear explanation of his membership policy or fee structure. And even in a February 8 submission, she noted, Whiting stated that membership applications and cards were being made at the present time. In her February 15 decision denying Whiting a license and finding, in fact, that he'd been running entertainment events without the proper licenses, Modica wrote: "It would appear that the idea to operate as a private club was conceived to allow operation without obtaining the necessary entertainment licenses."
With or without a license, police sources say, Crown Social & Recreation Hall has become a meetinghouse for Boston gang members, complete with muscle provided by a weightlifter who did time at Walpole and a pack of pit bulls. The vision the cops project is eerily akin to the subterranean warehouse landlorded over by the Evil Shredder in the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a fun-and-run house where Shredder's teen foot soldiers train and play video games and ingest carbohydrates before emerging to rip off the city.