Diesel’s lawyers prepare to present their case
In the latest extended drama over Providence nightlife, the city is expected to soon conclude its case against Club Diesel, paving the way for the lawyers representing nightclub impresario Michael Kent to offer their side of the dispute.
The Providence Police Department’s effort to characterize the Washington Street dance club as a “disorderly house” has unfolded slowly in recent weeks, with the defense contending that many of the incidents attributed by the police to Diesel are unrelated to the nightspot. Richard Aitchison, administrator for the Providence Board of Licenses, says Kent’s lawyers, after the city rests, will have a similar opportunity to present their case. Additional hearing dates had not been scheduled as the Phoenix was going to press.
The fate of Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel is closely linked to Diesel, since the two venues share space in the Strand Building, and closing Diesel would have the effect of shuttering Lupo’s, Rhode Island’s leading host of live music. (Disclosure: both venues are Phoenix advertisers.)
In related news, a lawyer from the firm of Kiernan, Plunkett & Redihan offered a presentation to a group of 15 or so downtown residents about a property owners’ potential lawsuit against nightclubs. The April 5 meeting, hosted by the Providence Foundation, which is based at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, reportedly attracted a mixed response. “Whether it [the lawsuit] will go ahead, I don’t know,” says one attendee. Daniel A. Baudouin, executive director of the Providence Foundation, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the meeting and the related nightlife conflict.
Kent, who has vowed to pursue the matter in court if the Board of Licenses strips Club Diesel of its entertainment and liquor licenses, says the board “would like to give us a fair hearing,” but he continues to believe that City Hall and the police department are intent on closing his club.
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