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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > United States > Texas & Southcentral > Austin

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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2012, 11:19 PM
Samwill89 Samwill89 is offline
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Major Crime Ring Bust Shuts Down 8 Downtown Bars

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Looks like there will be fewer lines — er, of many sorts — downtown this weekend.

Yassine Enterprises owner Hussein Ali "Mike" Yassine has been taken to the house for quite the laundry list of lapses in legality along with nine other cohorts — many of whom are relatives.

Drug trafficking (specifically that of cocaine), tax evasion, money laundering, and transferring firearms for said drug trafficking are just some of the federal crimes that resulted in a Thursday morning raid by not only the FBI but the IRS, DEA, TABC and APD.

Yassine Enterprises runs what would seem like the majority of liquor-drenched hangouts on "Dirty 6th," as it's disaffectionately known by many Austinites. Listed as venues on the Yassine Enterprises website are Hyde, Kiss and Fly, Roial, Pure, Malaia, Spill, Fuel, Treasure Island and Stack Burger Bar. This weekend, bar-hoppers and pick-up artists alike will be greeted by locked doors and TABC signage stating that bars' licenses are temporarily suspended.

Attention was first brought to Yassine Enterprises in the fall of 2011 when a group of over 50 disgruntled workers filed a class action lawsuit over minimum wage violations. Bartender Jack Webb claims that Mike Yassine refused to pay wages to employees who received tips. From a press release sent on Jan. 18 regarding the suit:

The former employee, who brought the suit, Webb, explained that he pursued the suit to right what he saw as a clearly improper and illegal business practice and to prevent further blatant violations of federal law. He also wants to obtain some measure of justice for himself and the others victimized by what he saw as an abusive business practice. “I just want myself and the other victims to obtain what the law says we are entitled to, and hopefully prevent further exploitation of wage earners in the future,” he said.

Serious concern continues to be expressed for the innocent employees that will undoubtedly lose their jobs in the crossfire of the company's federal charges.

"It comes as a surprise to me. [Mike Yassine] is one of the strongest players down here," Bob Woody, an owner of 22 downtown businesses, told KXAN. "My biggest concern right now is the staff that works for him. He employs a lot of people. And you know the typical bar might have anywhere from 15 to 20 employees, so we may be talking about a couple hundred people and their employment."

With so many bars in question, what's next for downtown's nightlife scene? It would appear that one of the largest glass houses in Austin has just been shattered, and the shards have landed everywhere.
I posted this here because I wonder what should be done with the many bars, which undoubtedly will turn hands. Additionally, that is a LOT of jobs lost in one night in that industry.
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Old Posted Mar 29, 2012, 11:30 PM
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Hill Country Hill Country is offline
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This has been a big local news story for the past week. Although I usually laugh at conspiracy theorists, it is suspicious that they waited until right after SXSW to close all those bars.
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Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 2:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Hill Country View Post
This has been a big local news story for the past week. Although I usually laugh at conspiracy theorists, it is suspicious that they waited until right after SXSW to close all those bars.
Lack of resources. SXSW consumes every last drop of police availability. Paper work, communication systems and all.
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Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 3:48 AM
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East7thStreet East7thStreet is offline
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This will be a good thing for those bar locations. The Yassines apparently do not own any of the real estate that their bars occupied and several of those bars really haven't been renovated in some time. Treasure Island has been exactly the same for its entire ~20 year life. It will be interesting to see who steps in to fill those locations.
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Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 3:55 AM
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Originally Posted by East7thStreet View Post
This will be a good thing for those bar locations. The Yassines apparently do not own any of the real estate that their bars occupied and several of those bars really haven't been renovated in some time. Treasure Island has been exactly the same for its entire ~20 year life. It will be interesting to see who steps in to fill those locations.
I think that is the case for most of the bars downtown
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Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 5:00 AM
wwmiv wwmiv is online now
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I know multiple people who worked for them. Every single one of their employees lost their licenses. Every single one whether or not they had knowledge of their activities. All of those people instantly do not have a way to make a living. This is awful.
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Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 11:50 PM
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Jdawgboy Jdawgboy is offline
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It is a shame but I knew for awhile the club owners were up to no good just by hearing stories and hearsay from people. Also I boycotted Kiss & Fly because the owners didn't even like gay people but opened a gay club just to make money. When they had events like concerts I.E. this past SXSW, every single flag or object that was gay related was taken down at that club. I heard people that went to see a some shows say that if you didn't know it was supposed to be a gay club, you would have never known.

What I hope is somebody or a group of somebody's in the gay community buy out both Kiss & Fly and Hyde and reopen them. We need a club like Kiss & Fly but we need it to support and be apart of the gay community not exploit gays for their money while contributing nothing.

I also hope that these properties are are transfered over to new owners or managers soon because having that many clubs and bars close at once has definitely had an impact in Downtown, though luckily there are enough clubs Downtown to handle it, to have several empty spots dotting the entertainment districts is not a good thing.

My heart also goes out to those who have lost their jobs, it is very distressing for innocent people to be caught up in a horrible mess like this and I hope they are able to find new jobs quickly.
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