The Grand Avenue Merchants Association doesn't want to see one merchant, Jim Seagrave, doing business on their street. The association, which is run by a committee made up of Beatrice Moore (who owns the building where beloved "rival" bar, Bikini Lounge, is), Tim Sprague, Gloria Marsiglia, Kate Benjamin, Lee Berger, Sue Morse, and Greg Couturier, voted on October 14 to "oppose" the transfer of a liquor license to Jim Seagrave for Fat Cats Bar at 915 Grand Avenue.
The association is not, of course, a state agency with the power to grant or revoke such licenses, so their efforts are still a bit of a mystery. Why wouldn't they want any business they could get on Grand Ave, considering the state of downtown, where even the die-hards are conceding major problems?
Well, it has to do with prostitutes, drug dealers and a serial killer, the association claims. No, this is not your usual "some drunk 19-year-old girl snuck in" boring liquor license stuff, I know.
"When Mr. Seagrave previously held a license for the Fat Cats Bar at that location, his bar was a source of constant problems for the neighborhood. A number of known and recognizable prostitutes and drug dealers not only frequented the establishment on a regular basis, but appeared to conduct their business openly both in front of the premises as well as in the parking lot there. Reports of regular interior criminal activity have also been made by old patrons of the bar. People in the neighborhood were afraid to walk by that location because of the witnessed criminal activity taking place there, and in close proximity, on a regular basis," the association says.
Here's where it gets really interesting, as the association claims the bar's DJ "was arrested as a serial killer, who while employed there, had murdered several woman in the Garfield neighborhood" and, they allege, also committed a string of out-of-state murders. "According to press reports at the time, Mr. Seagrave relied on this person to shepherd female customers to their cars at night," the association says in a press release. Wowza.
So then everything changed and things got better from there, the association claims.
"When Mr. Seagrave sold the bar and it was closed for renovations by the new owner, Amina Uben of Chez Nous, the drop in criminal activity around that location was noteworthy. Ms. Uben dedicated herself to eliminating many of the problems Mr. Seagrave had created there, including the entrenched criminal element. She hired on-site security to ensure that the criminal element would not return; she talked frequently about the enormous scope of the problems she had inherited from Mr. Seagrave and her desire to rid the property of his negative legacy."
Now, there's a chance Fat Cats will come back. The association says the following:
"The City Council voted on Dec. 2 to recommend disapproval for the Series 6 License Transfer for Fat Cats Bar, 915 Grand Avenue. The item will now go to the State Liquor Board. It is really important that anyone living within a mile of the proposed license transfer now make it clear, via a letter to the Director of the Arizona Dept. of Liquor Licenses and Control, that you are opposed to this license transfer. The more individual letters the State receives, the more likely we are to defeat this license. Your letter does not have to be long, but must be received by the Director's office by December 17th.
"Mail or hand deliver your letters to (it's just down the street):
Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control
800 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
"Please send a copy of anything you mail to the State Director to the City Lawyer handling the case: Robert Smith; Assistant City Prosecutor; P.O. Box 4500; Phoenix, AZ; 85030-4500."
Do what you gotta do, Phoenix;I'm steering clear of this one. You can find me hanging out at an Applebee's in Mesa until the air clears.