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City Seeks to Block Manager of “Nusiance” Club From Taking Over Another Troubled Nightlife Spot

A manager at a South Lake Union nightclub—recently flagged by the city as a Chronic Nuisance Property—is now trying to take over another troubled club in the University District, which has been the source of 911 calls about gunfire, gruesome assaults, and other crimes.

Naturally, Seattle police and the City Attorney’s office think this is a bad idea.

Earlier this year, one of the managers at South Lake Union’s Citrus nightclub applied to take over the Fusion Ultra Lounge (where he is also a manager) in the University district. In response, the city sent two letters (PDFs) to the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) objecting to the man’s request for a new liquor license at the location near 8th Avenue NE and NE 45th Street, detailing violence at Fusion, and citing the club as a “dangerous venue.”

“As patrons leave [Fusion], assaults, thefts, and shootings have become common in the street and parking lot,” North Precinct Community Police Team Officer Loren Street wrote to the liquor board. “Currently, there is no other club in the North Precinct that demands the resources of the police department like Fusion.”

In addition to taking noise complaints, calls for crowd control, and reports of damage to vehicles near Fusion, police have also been called to deal with a number of other violent and troubling incidents in and around the club:

In July, a fight involving 30 people spilled out of the club into a parking lot. One man was dragged into a nearby garage and beaten unconscious. He also sustained several facial fractures in the attack. Despite the fact that the brawl started inside the club, Fusion security staff members were not able to provide police with much useful information about the incident.

In December, an extremely intoxicated patron stood outside of the club taunting security staff after he was ejected. He then punched and spat blood on another patron walking out of the club.

A month later, someone fired off a gun in a parking lot next to Fusion, striking a vehicle. When police returned to the club to talk to employees about the shooting, they’d locked up and gone home.

Then in February, police responded to a fight involving 50 people, which spilled out of the club onto the street. Later in the month, several men left Fusion and got into a fight at a gas station. During the fight, one suspect used a baseball bat to shatter a car windshield, leaving a victim with shards of broken glass in his eye.

In addition to noting those nasty incidents in its letter to the WSLCB, the City also noted that the man trying to take over Fusion has a history of involvement with other troubled clubs. In addition to managing Fusion and Citrus—which the City declared a Chronic Public Nuisance following a streak of shootings, melees, robberies and other violent crimes—and previously owned Georgetown’s El Reventon nightclub, until he sold the business for $1 just weeks before the City declared that club a Chronic Nuisance for having its own set of ongoing issues, including brawls, gang conflicts, and sexual assault. 

The WSLCB is now reviewing the city’s objection letters.

“We’re working hard to keep the city safe,” says City Attorney’s Office North Precinct Liaison Jana Jorgensen. “Fusion has been a consistent drain on North Precinct police resources.  In addition to our objection to the liquor license application, we will continue to monitor Fusion and could pursue that declaration of chronic nuisance in the future.”