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October 21, 2014

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Prive withdraws appeal of liquor license denial

Prive at Planet Hollywood

The Prive nightclub at Planet Hollywood. Launch slideshow »

Just days before Privé’s scheduled Aug. 18 appearance before the County Commission, representatives withdrew their appeals of the club’s liquor license denial on Thursday.

“The representatives advised the Department of Business License of changes in the ownership of Privé Las Vegas, LLC,” said Clark County public information officer Dan Kulin, “and submitted applications for liquor licenses evidencing the changes in ownership, along with the appointment of a new management team, key employees and requests for temporary licenses.”

In a process that could take as little as a few weeks or much longer, department staff is reviewing the applications, which include the appointment letters and Metro background checks of proposed new key employees.

Jim Reding on Thursday confirmed having been tapped by Opium Group to assume control of the nightclub. “We’re still in the process of getting the license back and drawing up all the necessary contracts,” Reding said.

Also filling out a Metro background check to accompany his letter of appointment is Mansion nightclub manager Orlando Oquendo (formerly of Light Group and Pure Management Group) and current Privé director of security David Hicks. Hicks worked as second in command to Privé’s then-security director Ron Lyons, who was cited in two violations Privé received from the county. He is reputed to be a former U.S. Marshal but that is not included in his work history, which states only that he has no military background and that he was at one time a personal trainer and ran an after school program.

Chief among the causes for the search for these new key employees was the July 28 removal of the former key employees, Greg Jarmolowich and Frank Tucker, by department of business license director Jacqueline Holloway.

Secondly, Privé Vegas LLC’s 2009 annual report, filed on Aug. 10, confirms that managing partner Justin Levine has either stepped down or was removed as a partner in the company that owned and operated Privé Nightclub. Additionally, the sole membership of J. Levine Investments, LLC was transferred from Levine on Aug. 5, 2009, to Opium Group leader Roman Jones. The entity was also then renamed Privé Vegas Investors, LLC.

This abdication now leaves Privé Nightclub entirely in the hands of two non-residents: Jones and Opium Group senior advisor/investor Mitchell Rubinson, who was added to the partnership via the Aug. 10 filing just as Levine was being removed.

According to the Department of Business License, an owner doesn't have to be involved in the day-to-day management of the business; he or she can live outside the state, hence the need for resident key employees who pass Metro background checks.

These latest actions take Privé nightclub and the Living Room lounge back to the beginning, to where the company was about this time three years ago, applying for a permanent liquor license and, in the mean time, a temporary one. Though that temporary license might also come with conditions, the lights could be back on at Privé in a matter of weeks.

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