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Posted on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Ann Arbor officials asking state not to renew Dream Nite Club's liquor license

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor officials are fighting to keep the Dream Nite Club from getting its liquor license renewed by the state following a string of problems with the downtown bar.

The Ann Arbor City Council voted 8-0 Monday night in favor of a resolution recommending non-renewal of the club's license to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

The council's resolution is being forwarded to the state along with a statement of findings and the recommendation of the city's liquor license hearing officer, Tony Derezinski, a retired attorney who serves as a 2nd Ward representative on the City Council.


The Michigan Liquor Control Commission will have to decide if the Dream Nite Club in downtown Ann Arbor can keep its liquor license.

Melanie Maxwell |

Derezinski presided over a hearing that lasted about four and a half hours Monday morning, during which representatives of the city and the Dream Nite Club both made their case for why the establishment at 314 S. Fourth Ave. should or shouldn't keep its liquor license.

The council's resolution states that the Dream Nite Club's liquor license is not being used in accordance with the Ann Arbor City Code or the Michigan Liquor Code.

City officials are objecting to renewal of the liquor license for what they consider to be repeated violations of the state liquor law, including allowing fights and the improper use of weapons on the premises of the business, which was previously known as Studio 4.

Derezinski released his statement of findings following Monday's hearing, referencing "a pattern of patron conduct in the neighborhood of the licensed premises which is in violation of the law and/or disturbs the peace, order and tranquility of the neighborhood" and "numerous police contact with licensed premises or the patrons of the premises."

A representative of the club could not be reached for comment Monday night.

The club was represented by two attorneys during Monday's hearing. They presented no witnesses but did cross-examine the city's witnesses and presented arguments, while evidence against the club was presented through the testimony of police officers and police reports.

Derezinski noted objections to the license renewal also were voiced by the city's administration and the city's Liquor License Review Committee.

"It's their final decision," Derezinski said of the state commission. "We merely make our recommendation with the supporting documents that we relied on."

Ann Arbor police investigated a report of shots fired outside the Dream Nite Club early Sunday but found no evidence of a shooting.

Still, the club has had its share of violent incidents in the past year, including a stabbing on the dance floor and a shooting in a nearby parking lot.

City Attorney Stephen Postema said the city's nuisance lawsuit seeking to shut down the club is still pending in Washtenaw County Circuit Court but he wasn't able to discuss the case.

That suit claims police received more than 200 calls at the business since September 2007, responding to liquor violations, disorderly conduct cases and assaults. In separate incidents last May, three people were stabbed in the club and fighting broke out inside and outside that resulted in a man being shot in a neighboring parking lot.

The club filed a motion asking Judge Melinda Morris to stop the case on the basis that the club had filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, but Morris denied the club's request.

The owners of Dream, Jeffrey Mangray and his son Vickash Mangray of Ypsilanti, filed a $3 million lawsuit against the city of Ann Arbor in January. The owners say officials have made false allegations of illegal activity at the business, subjected it to heightened scrutiny by police and harassed it because its owners and customers are racially diverse.

As of now, both the city's nuisance case against the club and the club's federal civil rights lawsuit against the city still pending. The city has filed a motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit brought by the club and a court hearing on that matter is set for May 30.

The Dream Nite Club is one of two troubled downtown establishments that Ann Arbor officials have spent considerable efforts fighting in recent years. The other, The Fifth Quarter nightclub on Fifth Avenue, officially closed last spring.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

I hope the license gets renewed. Things have been much quieter in the surrounding towns once this place went in and gave U of M and AA 20-somethings someplace local to go to pick a fight.


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Facts: There is a case filed. The case no. is 2:12-cv-10203-PDB-PJK, VR Entertainment et al v Ann Arbor City of et al, Filed 1. 17. 2012, Paul D. Borman presiding. The City Liquor Control Commission open meeting minutes from last week contain comments from certain members who express the wish to target The Black Elks, Rush Street and Dream Nite Club for revocation of liquor licenses. Fact: These establishments are owned by and or magnets for minorities in this area. What does this all mean? You tell me.


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

So why is "improper use of weapons" being linked to an article entitled: "Police find no evidence of gunshots outside Dream Nite Club in Ann Arbor"


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 4:45 p.m.

I didn't read that linked article, but I definitely heard gun shots from that direction and crowds running down the street yelling about gun shots outside Dream. That's enough evidence for me.

Bertha Venation

Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

I miss The FLAME... [sigh]


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 3:22 p.m.

No.No.No. How many articles have we seen about the fights, assaults and sexual misconduct that happens in and around this establishment? It's been renamed, sold and yet still, it seems to have no redeeming qualities. Turn it into a banquet hall, an indoor playgym or better yet, a freaking Cheesecake Factory, but for Pete sakes, don't give them more liquor.

4 Fingers

Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

P.F. Chang's anyone?


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

Dream Club has been home to a mix of teens and twenty something's for years. I never knew this was an African American only club? The Black Elks have a great establishment with a mixed crowd and never have this kind of trouble or clashing. The City does play politics with businesses from time to time, but race is never an issue. Could the problem never talked about in this case be; class, social norms or community expectation?


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

I think Liquor licenses should be abolished as a relic of our prohibition past. Barring that, I think that anyone and everyone should be able to freely and cheaply get a liquor license. So yes, their license should be renewed. If there's something Dream Nite Club is doing that's unlawful, then use a legal remedy.


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

It is very, very difficult to shut down an LCC licensee with allegations like this. I have seem licensees with dozens and dozens of LCC violations stay open. If the City of Ann Arbor has more proof - more power to them.

4 Fingers

Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

Not true. They'll go in front of a MLCC panel and they will decide on the recommendations of the city. Previous violations will be put into play along with the frequency of those violations. Public safety will be weighed in. And all of this has to be done before April 30, because that's the deadline for renewal.

Mike Carry

Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 1 p.m.

This was just a formality hearing.....they have one violliation on their liquor license .... Multiple law suits......the Citys claim of 200 calls is actually 18 calls to the club, False police reports........Mlcc will factor all these things in


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 11:52 a.m.

Their treatment of the campus community ... worth repeating: On Nov. 8, 2008, the Chinese Student Association and Filipino American Student Association hosted a club night at Studio 4 to celebrate the organizations' events that weekend. The student organizations had negotiated a contract with the club's management to divide the night's cover: 50 percent going to Studio 4, and 50 percent to be split between CSA and FASA. At the end of the night, CSA president Steve Lai and FASA president Ashley Manzano approached Mangray to collect their share of the cover. Jeff, however, refused to pay Lai and Manzano the amount agreed upon in the contract. Full story:


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 12:58 p.m.

So what happened? I assume all of the students were 21 or older, right?


Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 10:59 a.m.

Yes! Nuisance! Nuisance! I'm tired of hearing about the problems with this place and its rowdy patrons.

Peter Eckstein

Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 10:39 a.m.

It's about time. It is good to see the city putting forward a solid front on this matter.