ome updated info on the secret not-so-secret club/speakeasy-type operation located through an interior side door of an existing downtown Parkville business that–depending on with whom you speak–may or may not be properly outfitted with all the state and local licenses and permits it needs, and may or may not be capturing the curiosity of a federal agency with the word alcohol in its name.
What we can confirm is that the operation of the club has irritated some of the more transparent alcohol establishments in the downtown area.
The latest? A professional acquaintance who has been inside the business with what we’ll call the “secret store” says: “I was in the back of his store and there’s like an iron door that’s kind of hidden and I saw these people in like a bar area. The gate in his store looks like a piece of decor but it’s not.”
The acquaintance says the store proprietor “told me I needed to come to the front of the store because people didn’t like me looking through that iron gate in the back of the store.” The store owner told the acquaintance and her friend that anyone in that area needs a membership. So the pair asked about becoming members and were told by the proprietor: “I pick the members. I have a waiting list, anyway.” The pair kept pressing for information and then were asked to leave by the proprietor, who they describe as “real defensive.”
Fast forward to this update I received from an area professional who said he was recently provided a tour of the secret store. This Kansas City business professional says he confirmed that there is a one-time fee of $500 to join the apparent “club.” Then there is a $150 per month fee. For the $500 one-time membership and the $150 per month maintenance fee, members bring in their own booze to keep in a locker in the secret store. The potential member recently given a tour says in a small portion of the secret store is a “kegger” area where a keg of beer is in place, and members who don’t want to drink their own booze can enjoy beer from the keg at no charge.
As other sources have also told us, the Kansas City business professional recently given the tour was told there is a waiting list for membership. The secret store limits its memberships to 100 members, he was told by the proprietor.
An upper area is in the process of being established for those who want to enjoy a cigar at the secret store, the businessman was told on his tour.
Last Thursday night on our show, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said when the pandemic has cleared he’d like to meet us at the Parkville speakeasy for an on-location episode of Landmark Live.
I love the idea but there could be a logistical challenge. For instance: Having been told Parkville Mayor Nan Johnston has frequented the secret not-so-secret club and was there early in the evening of her notorious night that will live in infamy, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say the bad boys from Landmark Live are not going to be allowed in. So I guess we’ll have to meet up with Mayor Lucas on the sidewalk outside the secret store and press our faces against the window, like curious kids dreaming the impossible dream. All precocious and full of wonderment and stuff.
Can anyone figure out what legal strategy the City of Parkville is trying to employ in its defense of the Sunshine lawsuit filed by Jason Maki? It is weird and it is curious. The city’s attorneys spend hearings talking in circles. They agree to measures during the hearings then don’t follow up after the hearing. They seem to pretend they didn’t understand the judge’s direction or didn’t interpret the judge’s direction the same way everyone else apparently did. The court orders the city to hand over previously-closed documents as part of discovery with the understanding Maki will not share the documents with the public, the city is slow to respond and then when it does hand over some documents there are redactions when redacting was not mentioned in the court’s instruction. And there are redactions in what should be the simplest of public documents, such as a meeting notice posted on the door of city hall. Why redact a public document? Suspicious, to say the least. “It makes me wonder what else they’re improperly redacting,” Maki said in court on Monday. It got the judge’s attention. “I don’t understand why you are redacting public documents,” Judge James Van Amburg said to Steven Coronado, one of the city’s attorneys, on Monday.
So a repetitive cycle continues. The city agrees to hand over discovery items and then it never happens quite the way it was discussed. Then a new deadline is established. The judge shows admirable patience. Then when that deadline passes with the discovery documents still not provided or heavily redacted, there is discussion, another agreement on what’s being sought, a directive from the court and another court hearing scheduled. It’s like one of those daytime soap operas with a storyline that never ends. The writers for Days of Our Lives would be proud.
I guess you could speculate the city is trying to run out the clock, maybe counting on Maki to get either frustrated or bored with the games and walk away. We could speculate their motive is to run up legal bills for the plaintiff, except the plaintiff is representing himself. And as for running out the clock, good luck with that. Maki seems dug in and determined. The city is well past $130,00 in legal defense fees and is getting more than it bargained for when it started jacking with Maki’s public records requests back in 2019. Maki’s determination seems like that of a man who has the city by the short hairs and he knows it.
Meanwhile, the city’s defense team is moving very slow and deliberate. Or perhaps deliberately slow. To say the city’s defense attorneys are moving at a snail’s pace is an insult to snails. On Monday, when discussion centered on what discovery items needed to be provided and the process for doing so, Coronado said: “That’s doable.” The judge didn’t seem impressed. “Well, we’ll see. It hasn’t been doable so far,” Van Amburg responded. At one point, Coronado told the court: “I understand his (Maki’s) concerns. We’re doing the best we can.” To which Judge Van Amburg responded: “Well, you need to do better, Mr. Coronado.”
Then toward the end of Monday’s hearing, Maki said because of the city’s significant delays in providing discovery, he would be approaching the city’s legal counsel about establishing a new case schedule to account for the year-long delays. Judge Van Amburg agreed and then made a point by putting words in Coronado’s mouth: “Mr. Coronado will have no objection to that.”
It has been a long time coming, but things are starting to get interesting. Get your popcorn ready.
(You can catch Ivan Foley lingering outside the Parkville speakeasy or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org)