Someone sent me an Email last night reporting that the Golden Nile had been raided, girls put on buses and the Club padlocked. This is true and false. Yes, it was closed down but not by a police raid but rather by one Jess Aires, acting on behalf of City Hall with a closure order signed by no other than City Administrator Pamintuan and Attorney Fabros. According to Richard Agnew the order was initiated based on the fact that the Club was not in compliance with fire regulations.
Jess showed up at the Club in early evening (1 Aug) in the company of Maj Louie Tan and told the staff on hand that the building had to be closed down. Richard was notified as he was driving home and he immediately turned around and returned to the Club. Upon returning to the Club he approached Jess and asked what was going on. Jess told him that he was not in compliance with Fire regulation in that a report indicated there were cobwebs on the stairs and no sprinkling system. On 29 July, these discrepancies had been complied with and Richard had been issued a certificate of compliance. Richard asked Maj Tan why he was present with his policemen and was told by Tan that he was there as a "referee". My goodness, was Jess fearful of bodily harm?
Richard showed Jess the certificate of compliance which showed that the Golden Nile had been cleared by the Fire Department but Jess would not budge on his direction that the Club must be closed. According to Richard, Jess told him that even though the violations had been taken care of, the test of the sprinkling system had not been conducted, in fact it was scheduled for the next day. Allegedly he asked Richard "could you guarantee that there would not be a fire that night". Bottom line, Golden Nile remained padlocked and Richard lost at a minimum, P100,000 in sales for that night.
On Thursday he was in contact with City Hall and was told that there were some inspection fees due from 2010 and 2011 for both the Golden Nile and the Cambodia Club. How this came about was a mystery to Richard. He tried to get an appointment with the Mayor but was told by the Mayor's secretary that the Mayor does not get involved with any discussions involving the Clubs and restaurants on Fields Ave and that the Mayor directed he contact Jess Aires, the very guy that closed the place down and would not listen to anything Richard said in the first place.
Richard tried to pay the money that was due in penalties, even though he had no idea what they were and the money was not accepted by the City Treasurer because they had no idea what penalties were being talked about and there was no legal basis to accept the money.
Meanwhile, the Fire Department along with City officials conducted the test of the sprinkler system, it passed and new certificate prepared. A staff member took the paperwork to City Hall and finally, very late in the afternoon, at around 5 PM, permission came down to open on Friday. This meant another day for lost revenue.
Richard and his Lawyer felt that this entire closure was illegal and raised questions about the authority of Jess to serve this closure. There might be a case of "grave assault" to be pursued. In any case, there are many questions to be answered here and on the advice of counsel it is being considered to file a Civil Case against all City representatives involved in the closure of this Club.
Why was the Golden Nile targeted for this action and why was it handled in such a way? Was it purely a case of harassment? If so, why?
I sent a text to Jess Aires on Thursday afternoon asking him for his comments and he did not bother to answer the text. Because of this, I only have one side of the story.
The only good news here is that it was not a police raid as originally reported to me so all the rumors of such a raid is laid to rest. It will be business as usual for the Golden Nile on Friday but I do not think that is the end of the story. Lets wait and see what legal decisions are made by Agnew and his lawyer if any.