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November 26, 2014

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Judge’s decision leaves uncertain future for planned Mandalay club

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A judge today denied a request by a group tied to the troubled Privé nightclub that was seeking an order to allow its burlesque lounge at Mandalay Bay to open.

The request came after the group, Vegas South Partners, led by nightclub veterans Mitchell Rubinson and Roman Jones, filed a lawsuit Dec. 3 asking the court to intervene in a dispute over its lease with Mandalay Place, the resort’s retail arm.

Judge Kathleen Delaney today denied Vegas South’s request for a preliminary injunction.

After the hearing, Rubinson said the future of the lounge was uncertain but likely would never open.

“At this point, I don’t think it’s a possibility,” he said.

He added that although the injunction request had been denied, “I feel very confident that when the actual trial takes place in front of a jury that we will prevail.”

Although the injunction request was denied, continued litigation over the money invested in the Rose can proceed, Delaney said.

Mandalay had terminated the lease over nonpayment of rent and changes in management, its lawyers said. Vegas South contended that its original lease was still in effect and said amendments that included changes in management and ownership had been orally agreed upon.

Rubinson and Jones are also in charge of Privé and Living Room at Planet Hollywood. They were tapped to run the clubs after a yearlong investigation by the Nevada Gaming Control Board highlighted illegal activities, including prostitution, drug use and underage drinking.

As a result of that investigation, the liquor licenses for Privé and Living Room were yanked and Planet Hollywood was fined.

Privé and Living Room are currently operating under temporary licenses set to expire Jan. 7.

Regulators at the time put the gaming industry on notice that too much lawbreaking in nightclubs could cost casinos their gaming licenses.

Attorney Todd Bice cited the problems at Planet Hollywood as reasons MGM Mirage had been hesitant to have the Rose as a tenant at its Mandalay Bay property.

Bice said the company wanted to protect itself and its gaming license and that MGM had serious concerns after the “shenanigans” that had gone on at Privé.

Although Mandalay said it had terminated the Rose’s lease, the two sides were still in talks about the possibility of the lounge opening, though it wouldn’t have been without restrictions, he said.

“Much like Clark County, we were going to put them on a very short leash,” he said.

It was that short leash that Vegas South objected. Proposed amendments to the lease, which had originally been signed March 19, included changing it from a five-year lease to a month-to-month lease that no longer protected Vegas South’s investment, Vegas South complained to the court.

The Rose, which Vegas South said it spent more than $1 million in renovating, was set to open in the space formerly occupied by Ivan Kane’s Forty Deuce, according to documents on file with the court.

Vegas South was asking the court to help it open the Rose in time for the lucrative New Year’s Eve holiday weekend.

A valid lease is a requirement to receive a liquor license from the county.

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