The party is over for Beta Nightclub.
The city of Denver stripped the LoDo nightclub of its liquor and cabaret licenses on Wednesday, as Denver Excise and License Director Ashley Kilroy determined owner Hussam Kayali was responsible for multiple violations of state liquor laws and fire safety codes.
Kilroy said Kayali hired inadequate security, claimed to be a member of the Sicilian mafia as an intimidation tactic, attempted to bribe a police officer and failed to provide a safe environment at the club.
The decision follows a two-day hearing on the matter in November. Last month, the mediator who oversaw that hearing recommended the licenses be revoked.
“The fact that Mr. Kayali was present at the club during many of these (incidents) further supports the hearing officer’s finding that Mr. Kayali knew of lax enforcement of club rules, knew or should have known that law violations were occurring, and that any such violations would put (his club) at risk of closure,” Kilroy wrote in her decision.
“His substantial presence at the licensed premises, taken with other facts, indicates a complete disregard for the law.”
The Denver Police Department, Denver Fire Department and Excise and Licenses investigated Beta between June and August after receiving several complaints and seeing an increase in 911 calls near the business. The city became concerned after a shooting took place May 23 near the club.
Officers who worked off-duty at Beta said at the November hearing that they told Kayali of multiple problems at the club and that he was responsive to some of their suggestions to make it more safe, but ultimately he did not implement them effectively.
Undercover officers who went to the club over last summer said they were aware of people selling narcotics at the club, but it couldn’t be proven Kayali was responsible for the incidents based on the evidence provided, Kilroy said Wednesday.
Kayali, 54, who also goes by the name Valentes Corleon, had already been reprimanded by the city in 2020 when he violated Denver’s COVID-19 reduced capacity orders. He was told not to commit any other violations within one year, but ultimately did, Kilroy said.
Kayali threatened to sue the city during a Wednesday interview with BusinessDen.
“I’m very embarrassed how this city did this to me; they did me dirty,” Kayali said. “I don’t appreciate what off-duty cops took advantage of me.”
Kayali told BusinessDen in December that the fact he hired off-duty police officers as additional security at the club shows he cared about the safety of his patrons. He accused the officers of accepting money from customers to let them cut the line into the club, and said he was being targeted because the club attracted black and Latino people.
The decision to revoke Beta’s licenses came four days after four people were shot early Saturday at the next-door business, The Cabin Tap House at 1919 Blake St. Two of the people shot were pronounced dead at the scene. The city suspended The Cabin’s liquor and cabaret licenses the same day.
Kayali owns The Cabin property, but said Wednesday he no longer owns the business itself.
Denver does not require a license for all businesses, just those that pose “a health, safety or welfare risk,” said Eric Escudero, a spokesman for Excise and Licenses.
Kayali could, in theory, open a different venture at 1909 Blake St. that doesn’t require the licenses that have been revoked. The order does not prohibit him from being at the property.
Escudero said Kayali has one pending application to transfer a liquor license to 1962 Market St., where El Chapultepec jazz club used to operate.