Glo Nightclub files complaint against Ferndale City Council, police

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published April 9, 2015


A week after Ferndale police served Glo Nightclub with an emergency suspension order from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission, the club’s owners filed a complaint against the city of Ferndale and the Liquor Control Commission claiming defamation and violation of constitutional rights.

In the complaint filed April 3 at Oakland County Circuit Court, the owners claim that actions by Ferndale police, City Council and the LCC deprived the club of its rights, and they are asking for damages resulting from the deprivation of those rights. The city moved to revoke the club’s liquor license following an incident March 17.

The Glo manager on duty St. Patrick’s Day called police at approximately 9:17 p.m. when a fight appeared to be brewing in the club, located at 22061 Woodward Ave. When police arrived, the club’s security had cleared the club.

After an investigation and looking at video footage, police said two men were stabbed in the club and a third was assaulted with a bottle. However, club personnel claim in the complaint that no such incidents occurred in the club; rather, the incidents happened off the business’s premises after personnel cleared the club.

“My clients feel they have been treated unfairly, as this club has not had any tickets since its opening in November 2014,” Glo Nightclub attorney Todd Perkins said. “In this situation, they called police because they were trying to have that type of relationship with the police by knowing the numbers to call. In my history of representing clients, usually some incident has occurred and some type of infraction has been given to them, but this went from zero to 100.”

The Ferndale City Council held a public hearing during the council’s March 23 meeting to solicit public input, which ultimately lead to the council approving the filing of an objection with the LCC not to renew the club’s temporary liquor license, which was set to expire in September.

The LCC during a March 27 meeting issued the suspension order closing the bar, and police served the notice the same day. The Glo Nightclub owners will have an opportunity to contest the order at an LCC hearing scheduled for April 23.

In the complaint, the owners claim that the club had not filed an application for a liquor license renewal at the time of the City Council meeting and that the city’s objection was directed at shutting down the business.

The complaint states that the nightclub owners did not receive notice of the Liquor Control Commission’s March 27 meeting.

“It is arguably more appropriate for the city to go after the business, as there was no application for renewal,” Perkins said. “We almost get a sense of them trying to configure something to allow them the ultimate action of shutting this business down.

“I just wish the individuals had the fair opportunity to be heard and conduct their business. We get the impression they don’t like the type of crowd this business has, but nonetheless, this is a lawful business.”

In the complaint, the defendants are named as the city of Ferndale; Mayor Dave Coulter; council members Dan Martin, Mike Lennon, Greg Pawlica and Melanie Piana; Ferndale Police Chief Timothy Collins; Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson; and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

The owners claim Collins and Wilson released statements void of any merit to the media about the alleged stabbing incident. The complaint states that the police made an appointment March 19 to review the video surveillance footage, and the owners believe the incident did not occur in the building.

Collins spoke at the March 23 council meeting about the complaints the police have received from neighbors of the nightclub.

As of April 9, none of the defendants had been served with the complaint, but Perkins said the papers had been mailed. Wilson said the Ferndale Police Department had no comment on the complaint, but the department sticks by its findings regarding the March 17 incident, which included a blood trail.

“We have said all we have said before, and there is not really anything to add to it,” Wilson said.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office, which represents the LCC, said it would not comment, as the matter is pending litigation. Coulter said he and the other council members were advised by City Manager April Lynch not to comment publicly on the litigation.

Ferndale City Attorney Daniel Christ said he had reached out to Perkins to discuss the complaint, but he feels the city gave proper notice of what was discussed at the March 23 meeting.

“The city did give notice of the public hearing,” Christ said.

Perkins said a motion hearing was scheduled for April 15 in front of Judge Rudy Nichols, and the club owners also would attend the April 23 LCC appeal hearing.