Ferndale club sues city, cops, state to try to reopen

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Ferndale — A short-lived night club shut down last month after two reportedly violent attacks is suing the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, city of Ferndale, its City Council and police chief for allegedly making false incident reports to force the place to close.

The Glo Night Club Midwest alleges in an Oakland Circuit Court complaint its constitutional rights have been violated by Ferndale and its officers in its quest to have the state revoke Glo's liquor license after the incidents at the club on St. Patrick's Day.

The city held a public hearing on the club's Class C liquor license the next day and filed a complaint with the Liquor Control Commission alleging the club, in operation for a few months, was a nuisance with not enough parking and the focus of criminal activity including a fight in which two patrons were reportedly stabbed with knives and a third hit with a bottle.

Police said they had more than 33 runs to the club on the west side of Woodward a few blocks south of Nine Mile.

"We haven't been served with their lawsuit yet but once we have I suspect we will have a lot to say," said Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson, personally named in the complaint along with Police Chief Timothy Collins, Mayor Dave Coulter and four city council members.

"But we don't make statements recklessly and there is plenty of evidence that (fight) occurred," said Wilson, who did not elaborate.

Collins could not be reached for comment Monday.

Glo's liquor license and dance entertainment and outdoor service permits were suspended March 27 when the club did not appear at a Liquor Control Commission hearing. However, club operators claim they never received notice of the hearing.

The commission has scheduled an April 23 hearing on revocation of Glo's liquor license.

The club's lawsuit said there was a March 17 incident which ended with the "troublesome patrons" being escorted out by security and police being immediately notified. Surveillance camera footage does not reveal any stabbing either inside or outside the club, according to the complaint.

Police reported that among evidence they had was a trail of blood leading out of the club and locating the victims, who had been treated at area hospitals. No one was charged in the fight.

The lawsuit said the only injury was a club security officer who was bitten while breaking up the fight.

The lawsuit said Wilson and Collins made statements to the news media regarding the stabbing and a man being hit over the head by a bottle. Those statements and public hearing and council vote, led to the club's liquor license being suspended on request of the city, which also alleged the club had been the source of noise and trash complaints, parking issues and traffic backups.

The lawsuit said the club never received any tickets or citations for ordinance violations.

"That's possible," said Wilson, noting others may have received citations. "But they were certainly aware there were problems after they opened. I even had them (club operators) in my office to talk with officers about ways to resolve problems.

The club insists the "reckless" remarks by police damaged its reputation in the community, led to the shutdown and resulted in a loss of revenue.

The lawsuit, which seeks renewal of its liquor license as well as damages, is assigned to Oakland Circuit Judge Rudy Nichols.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319