Lawsuits spring up in local club scene

Lawsuits are flying in the superheated local nightclub industry.

Poetry nightclub at the Forum Shops at Caesars has been joined by Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois restaurant in alleging racial profiling by Caesars Palace and the owners of the Forum shops.

Privé Vegas nightclub at Planet Hollywood Resort has filed a complaint in U.S. District Court accusing Michael Politz, who operates a food and beverage Web site called TheVegasEye.com, of libel.

According to the complaint on Poetry’s behalf, Caesars Palace and the Simon Property Group, the Forum Shops owners, “engaged in an ongoing and concerted campaign of harassment and misconduct against plaintiffs.”

The lawsuit alleges that one of the alleged motives was to break the lease with Chinois so Poetry would have to vacate. Michael Goodwin‘s Albuquerque-based company subleased the 10,000-square-foot space on Chinois’ second floor and opened it in 2004 as OPM, a club that catered predominantly to African-American clientele.

OPM’s customers were forced to use “a back service hallway (and one point, an outside back alley) for entrance,” the suit said, which is “inconsistent with, and damaging to, OPM’s image and insulting to OPM’s customers.”

Chinois received a number of letters contending that Chinois was in breach of lease on several grounds, the lawsuit said.

An e-mail seeking comment was sent to Caesars Palace. No response was received by deadline.

The Poetry lawsuit is pending in United States District Court.

The Privé lawsuit contends Politz has “originated, written, and/posted false and damaging content on (his Web site) regarding individuals and/or entities doing business in the local entertainment industry who refused to give cash amounts or grant favors to (him).”

According to the lawsuit, Politz contacted Justin Levine, a Privé managing partner, earlier this year and “requested cash to be on his ‘good side.'”

Politz, reached by e-mail late last week, said he has not been served with papers as yet and he is “not sure” what is behind the charges.

“It appears that it upsets them that I show positive support regarding my advertisers,” he wrote.

In July he posted “factually false and damaging content titled: ‘Prive ship is sinking,’ adorned with the Prive trademark,” the lawsuit said.

Last month Politz posted an anonymous letter allegedly written by former Privé employees who claimed Privé was involved in racial profiling. He agreed to remove the letter after Privé’s attorneys contacted him but declined, he said, to include a retraction and an apology.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

The Court House Bar & Grill, located across from the Regional Justice Center, is featuring an O.J. special: Orange chicken, white rice, two onion rings and a shot of orange juice for $8. “The onion rings look like handcuffs,” said restaurant owner Chip Lightman, longtime manager of Mirage headliner Danny Gans. O.J. Simpson‘s trial on charges of armed robbery and kidnapping starts Monday at the Regional Justice Center. …

Some news came out of the roast of Mayor Oscar Goodman on Saturday at the Plaza: Frank Sinatra‘s celebrity star will go on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars late this year or early in January, according to Ed Swindle, director of the Walk of Stars. Others will include: show producer Dick Feeney, entertainer Jose Jose, singing legend Engelbert Humperdinck and longtime choreographer and dancer Vassili Sulich. One of the biggest laughs came after U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., read a proclamation to Goodman. He looked it over, called it “a coveted piece of crap” and tore it in half.

SIGHTINGS

Olympic swimming icon Michael Phelps, taking poker lessons from Todd Brunson during his weekend visit to Las Vegas. … Actress Rachel Bilson, celebrating at the bachelorette party of her best friend Jill Stonerock on Friday at The Bank (Bellagio). … Drew Carey and Bobby Slayton, hanging with Billy Bob Thornton on Friday at Wasted Space lounge (Hard Rock Hotel), where Thornton hosted an after-party following his show at The Joint with his band, The Boxmasters.

THE PUNCH LINE

“Oscar’s idea of oral sex is talking about himself.” — Berkley, while roasting Goodman.

Norm Clarke can be reached at 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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