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Privé appeals withdrawn: Privé managing partner steps down, club changes hands, starts all over

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Prive nightclub at Planet Hollywood.

Just days before Privé’s scheduled August 18 appearance before the County Commission, representatives withdrew their appeals of the club’s liquor license denial on Thursday, August 13. “The representatives advised the Department of Business License of changes in the ownership of Privé Las Vegas, LLC,” says 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 as many as it takes, department staff is currently reviewing the applications, which include the appointment letters and Metro background checks of proposed new key employees.

Jim Reding yesterday 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,” says Reding.

Also confirmed to have filled 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 US Marshall 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.

And secondly, Privé Vegas LLC’s 2009 annual report, filed on August 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 August 5, 2009, to Opium Group honcho Roman Jones. The entity was also then renamed Privé Vegas Investors, LLC. Levine and Jarmolowich have since been spotted together in Miami, possibly working on a new project, the purchase and revamping of Cameo nightclub; a reps says “Opium Group has not confirmed purchase of Cameo.”

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 August 10 filing just as Levine was being removed. Rubinson’s daughter Jaime, a Miami attorney and historical Privé Vegas member, appears to have been removed some time ago.

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.

Had either Jones or Rubinson put themselves up for key employee, Metro would likely have discovered that Mitchell Rubinson’s late father, Jaime Rubinson’s grandfather, was Norman Wolf Rubinson, a Miami financial consultant and investor known for his indictment and 1976 conviction for securities, mail and wire fraud. Rubinson was sentenced to concurrent three year terms of imprisonment on Counts 1 and 14 of the 20 in which he was named.

These latest actions take Privé nightclub and the Living Room lounge back to the very beginning, to where the company was about this time two years ago in late 2007, applying for a permanent liquor license and, in the mean time, a temporary one. Though that temporary might also come with conditions, the lights could be back on at Privé in a matter of weeks.

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