Las Vegas Sun

September 30, 2014

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Rogich again hoping to get tavern license transferred

Political heavyweight Sig Rogich is hoping the third time's a charm for the transfer of his liquor tavern license to two Houston brothers who plan to open a new Las Vegas topless club.

However, by the time Rogich's request is heard by the City Council Wednesday, the tavern issue will have wrapped its tentacles around City Hall, leaving only two councilmen unscathed.

Rogich's Ranger Building Corp. has been trying for months to transfer the tavern license at 2801 Westwood Drive to Ali and Hassan Davari of Houston. The brothers run several topless clubs in the Houston area and plan to turn Rogich's former office building into their latest venture called the Board Room.

The tavern transfer, which is usually a routine item, has been put on the back burner twice, after a lawsuit and a police investigation slowed the process.

In December, when the item was first scheduled to be heard, a confidential police report was handed to council members on the eve of the council meeting, delaying the item for 30 days.

Last month, the council delayed the item again to allow a lawsuit filed against the city over the original 2000 license vote to go before a judge.

City Councilman Michael McDonald has been crippled by accusations by Metro Police, state and local ethics boards that he was meddling behind the scenes to try to block Rogich's original application.

Metro police found McDonald did try to block the original application, a violation of a state law outlining misconduct by a public officer, but the district attorney declined to prosecute.

Instead, the Las Vegas Ethics Board picked up the case.

Last month, the board forwarded a petition for malfeasance to District Court Judge James Mahan, who will hear the case against McDonald March 20. The state's Ethics Commission will hear almost the identical case against McDonald Feb. 15.

Not even the City Council or Mayor Oscar Goodman have escaped accusations.

In 10 days, Goodman, Council members Larry Brown, Lynette Boggs McDonald and Michael Mack will appear before the city ethics board, which will hear a complaint that the members showed favoritism toward Rogich when they granted his tavern license last year.

When the application was granted in Feb. 2000, City Attorney Brad Jerbic advised against granting the license because it was in conflict with the city's ordinance and zoning laws requiring a tavern to be 1,500 feet from other taverns.

The city also is waiting to hear the status of a lawsuit filed by Nevada Space Inc., alleging the council should never have granted the license because of the proximity to another tavern.

The matter is in mediation and District Court Judge Jeffrey Sobel is expected to rule on a motion next week if the two parties have not settled.

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