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Documents: Athena Night Club closed

Friday, February 29, 2008 | 7:43 p.m. CST; updated 9:14 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — Athena Night Club is closed, according to a report on the club prepared by Columbia police for Monday’s City Council meeting.

An attached letter, signed by the night club’s lawyer Bogdan Susan and submitted to the Columbia Department of Finance, said the owners are “no longer operating a night club.”

The owners of the night club, Daniel Veros and Rashid Kikhia, also seem to be restructuring the business.

The club was the scene of an increasing number of violent incidents which have included fights and shots fired, according to the report.

The club’s liquor license was suspended Jan. 18 because of an inability to cooperate with police on strategies to curtail violence at the business, 1100 Locust St. Those strategies included a dress code and weapons check.

The business immediately appealed the suspension and was allowed to operate temporarily.

The club was the scene of a fight between MU basketball players and two workers on Jan. 27 when former MU guard Stefhon Hannah’s jaw was broken in front of neighboring Nikai Mediterranean Grill, according to probable cause statement. MU guard Jason Horton and Hannah were both subsequently arrested on third-degree assault charges and are scheduled to be arraigned on March 3.

Since the arrests, rumors have swirled about the closing of the night club. The report to the council, dated Feb. 21, confirms the owners’ intentions to officially close the club.

The city’s business services administrator, Janice Finley, said the owners intend to change structure of the company. However, it will still operate its two sister businesses, Nikai Mediterranean Grill and New York’s Famous Pizza.

The report also described a Feb. 12 meeting when members of state liquor control, police, city officials and night club representatives met to discuss the city’s expectations of the business if it were to continue to operate.

Finley said if the night club were to continue to operate, it would have to meet a list of requirements, such as providing the city an updated trespass list of people who had been previously arrested at the club and running criminal background checks on employees.

She added, if the night club closes, the restaurants will still have to abide by some of the requirements.

Columbia Police Chief Randy Boehm said though he sees the night club’s closing as a positive, he is unsure if it is going to happen.

“I know that’s their intention (to close), and I hope that that’s what happens, quite frankly,” he said.

Finley said representatives of the business highlighted a decline in patrons over the past several months as the reason for closing the business. She also said Athena Entertainment Inc. will be applying for a downgraded beer and wine liquor license for their restaurants under a different applicant’s name. Veros currently holds the business’s “all kinds” liquor license.

“I’m waiting for the updated applications,” Finley said. “Liquor and business licenses.”

The club’s owners could not be reached for comment.


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