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Posted on Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

Dream Nite Club owners file $3 million lawsuit against City of Ann Arbor

By Lee Higgins

The owners of Dream Nite Club in downtown Ann Arbor have filed a $3 million lawsuit against the city, alleging that 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.

Owners Jeffrey Mangray and his son Vickash Mangray of Ypsilanti also are suing the police department, police Chief Barnett Jones, City Administrator Steve Powers and the city's former administrator Roger Fraser.

Thumbnail image for DREAM.jpeg

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court and claims the club has suffered "irreparable harm," losing customers and "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in revenue as a result of being targeted by the city.

The lawsuit says the club's owners are of Indian descent and were born in Trinidad and their patrons are largely African-American, Asian and Latino. City officials are subjecting Dream to heightened scrutiny because it's the only minority establishment in the downtown area, the lawsuit claims.

City Attorney Stephen Postema could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

The city has a lawsuit pending against the club's owners that was filed last spring. That suit claims police have 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 a fighting broke out inside and outside that resulted in a man being shot in a neighboring parking lot. The business on South Fourth Avenue was formerly known as Studio 4.

The suit filed Tuesday against the city claims that Dream should not be held responsible for that shooting because it occurred in a parking lot that's used by the U.S. Postal Service and overseen by federal authorities. According to the lawsuit, the city brought an action against Dream with the state Liquor Control Commission for that shooting.

The lawsuit says the city "has focused extraordinary police attention on the club" and patrol cars often are parked in front. Former employees have been asked to be confidential informants and "wear wires and tape recording devices" to go inside the club and "look for signs of drug deals and prostitution," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit claims the city is on a "fishing expedition" seeking to bolster its case against Dream.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at


Mike Carry

Sun, Jan 22, 2012 : 12:23 a.m.

I hope everyone is aware this is a Federal Lawsuit and will be decided in the City of Detroit.


Sat, Jan 21, 2012 : 7 p.m.

U of M football games are a greater nuissance.


Sat, Jan 21, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

i hope the lawsuit buries this city


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

Maybe if the patrons of this establishment behaved in a mature manner, they wouldn't have been shut down. The bottom line is that, much like the 5th Quarter, this place became a public nuisance. Playing the race card only detracts from the owner's credibility. Run a respectable business and stop blaming others for your inability to manage your club!


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

That place was a menace to civilization. It has been haunted by many demons over the years - the most recent owners being the most egregious example. Good riddence.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

How creative to use race in their argument...........

John of Saline

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Man, if they won the suit, that would REALLY cut in to the City's vital ability to create public art.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

Two words: Public nuisance. 200 calls at the business since September 2007!!! Any judge will agree.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

Hmmm not melinda morris.

Berda Green

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

they are not going to win so they are wasting thee time

hut hut

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:12 p.m.

City Attorney Postema (and his buddy Chief Barnett) wanted some publicity as Postema sought a judgeship. All politicians, particularly Judges and Prosecutors (add Police Chiefs) have to prove that they are not soft on crime, so they make a mountain out of a molehill and cast the "offender" as a danger to the community. It's perfect publicity. Easy pickings. It's clever timing for all of this to happen.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

City officials are subjecting Dream to heightened scrutiny because it's the only minority establishment in the downtown area ... LOL, wut?

Frustrated in A2

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

I guess my response to this lawsuit would be "Lol!" If the owners took care of things inside the police would not have to be outside on such a consistant basis.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

Speaking of Michigan sports being related to Dream, any saturday I go into the place I see many michigan football/basketball players in there having a great time. Many people just judge a book by its cover...


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

I find some of these comments actually pretty funny. Where ever there is a great amount of people there will be fights here and there. In my eyes the greatest "public nuisance" in Ann Arbor is the michigan football staduim. Yes we are known for our team but there are many fights/arrestests happening at games. Also the streets needs to be blocked off after,before, and during every game. Wasn't it this year or last year a man brought semi auto machine guns to a game posing as a national guard person to get on the field? This couldve ended worse than it was played out, really im scared to go to games after that happened knowing the security at games are poor/decent standard. When being one of the biggest staduims in football it should have top security each game. Not volunteers that have little to no training in secruity. If there is a "public nuisance" in ann arbor the staudim is a prime example of it.


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

James, your logic is awful. Michigan Stadium seats 110,000 peeople. Dream fits a couple hundred. There also were no acts of violence like there was at Dream. 5 arrests at an event with hundreds of thousands of people is amazing--particularly when you consider the large amounts of alcohol consumed at said event. UM demonstrably did a much superior job of crowd control than Dream did when you factor in the fact that UM handled a much, much, much, larger crowd. Your comparison fails at every level. How about you try comparing two like things.Like say, Scorekeepers vis a vis Dream. You might have a legitimate point then, but as of now your argument looks ridiculous.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

At any night club minors possessing alcohol is a violation, drugs in a club is also a violation if I believe. Why wasn't the University cited for these things at one game alone? If it was a nightclub (any) there would be public out cry for "this place to be closed down"


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

Five arrested during Michigan football game against Ohio State; 2 Minors possessing alcohol, one disorderly conduct, one was arrested for resisting and obstructing an officer and one was arrested for a controlled substance violation, and one other for urinated in public. This is just at the Ohio State-Michigan game... Drugs, and underaged drinking hmmm sounds like the big house is starting not to become safe anymore


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

Still agaisnt the law. The man was later arrested. Do you blame the staduim staff for this happening? NO. Do you blame Dream's staff for things happening there? Yes. Many comments have said its their fault. This comment above (my original) was for the main point there are more fights in one season at a michigan football game than all the clubs in Ann Arbor put together.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

I did read this article fully. Nowhere does it say anything about throwing weapons over a fence. However it does describe the security check he went through entering the Big House. Can you post a different article or report that actually does support your statements? I would feel no danger from a National Guardsman with two empty weapons and no ammo in the stadium just because he was trying to use his uniform and job position to try to sneak in and watch a football game he couldn't get tickets to. I would feel a significant amount of danger from an angry intoxicated man with a loaded handgun that he was obviously willing to use to threaten and harm/kill others.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

That is no reason for bringing a Semi Auto MACHINE GUN, to a football game. Its not the point if its loaded or not, this proves that the secruity at the games are not up to par. If he wanted to he couldve hurt alot of people. It does not matter if he is in the Gaurd or not he still couldve done damage. And if you read the story fully, he had 2 of the guns on him and threw them over the fence he was not "checked at secruity".


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

Here is a link to the National Guardsman at Michigan Stadium story. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> He wasn't posing as a National Guardsman he was a National Guardsman. He was posing as an Honor Guard so he could get on the field. Also, he didn't threaten people with the gun and when he was checked at security the gun was empty and he had no ammunition on him.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

It probably wasn't this past football season that the situation with the semi-automatics and guy posing as National Guard that you talk about happening at the stadium occurred because the last time you brought it up in the comments section of a Dream Nite Club article was last July.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:41 a.m.

This lawsuit is purely a diversionary tactic to deflect responsibility.

hut hut

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:35 a.m.

The plaintiffs should add Stephen Postema to the list of defendants.

Mike Carry

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 : 6:24 a.m.

If the plantiffs would have entered Mr. Postema into the case the City Of Ann Arbor would have to hire new counsel, the fact that they left him out of the lawsuit means Mr. Postema is going to have to earn his pay check!


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:53 a.m.

because. . . .?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

My first thought is how many calls U of M related did the Ann Arbor Police Department respond to?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:26 a.m.

Everyone should read the post by @SC and click on the link to the story. It seems to sum it up. Thanks SC for the info.

Ron Granger

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

&quot;The lawsuit says the club's owners are of Indian descent and were born in Trinidad and their patrons are largely African-American, Asian and Latino.&quot; Is that what they call &quot;playing the race card&quot;? My concern was with all the reports of crime - assaults, etc - in and around the club. The race doesn't matter.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

Well the police weren't hanging around harrassing them Monday morning at 2am when drunken idiots broke out into the street resulting in multiple fights (assaults), wreckless driving, and disturbing the peace. The police had to receive multiple calls before intervention. There's a law against over-serving patrons at a restaurant or bar. If the shooter last year got drunk at the bar, they are responsible. Don't like the law? Don't over-serve! Or better yet, shut down your terrible bar. Transfering the license was a terrible idea. Same owners, same spot, same broken laws, and same violence.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:23 a.m.

really? dream is accusing people of being racist? <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

^ This.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

I really hope everyone involved in this conversation reads this article. Good find, SC.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

Wow. Did this guy learn nightclub management in Apartheid South Africa?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

Everybody also seems to be forgetting that everyone is entitled to due process. Judge Connors never allowed the owners of this establishment their legal right to due process. The city should be heavily penalized for this failure of justice.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

Sorry, that was my phone's auto correct, seriously, &quot;con entire&quot; should be &quot;commentors.&quot;


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 9 p.m.

I did look at the previous articles on this subject and I noticed frequent con entire that made me wonder...


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

@Ann23 Hmmm thats the 2nd person posting in the clubs favor that you have checked their comments/past posts.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:16 a.m.

I would guess owner. Especially after seeing the comments on all the other articles written about this night club.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

So are you a employee or owner of Dream?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:12 a.m.

Do you know what &quot;due process&quot; means? Michigan Court Rules permit a judge to issue a temporary restraining order without a hearing, provided that &quot;it clearly appears from specific facts shown by affidavit or by a verified complaint that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the applicant from the delay required to effect notice or from the risk that notice will itself precipitate adverse action before an order can be issued&quot; Michigan Court Rules 3.310 (B) <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> If Judge Connors found that the plaintiffs met the requirements of MCR 3.310(B), then he must issue a temporary restraining order, and the defendants received due process WITHOUT a hearing. Throwing around legal terms like &quot;due process&quot; proves nothing. Actually knowing the law does.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

To those folks who are making adverse comments about the owners &amp; the club, maybe they have never visited this establishment. All the negative reports were obtained from the police who have always parked up to five vehicles outside the club on Saturday nights when the patrons are primarily of African American descent for years. This club is a reflection of the diverse Ann Arbor community. I am appalled that the owners are asking for just $3 million in damages, when it should be a much larger sum.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

But if you're a minority arrested for assault, or a minority-owned bar that gets punished for over-serving patrons, then clearly the police were racially motivated, regardless of what laws you've broken.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

There were no police parked outside the door on Monday at 2am when multiple fights broke out. Assault is illegal, no matter what your race. Over-serving people at a bar is illegal, no matter who serves and who gets served. Their license needs to be revoked.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 12:58 a.m.

So, all the disorderly conduct complaints, 3 stabbings and a shooting were a result of the police presence? Or are you suggesting that the stabbings were the result of the police telling people to stab people inside the club, to give them a bad image? Seriously, as soon as there is alleged racism, 50% of the people in this town jump to their defense with illogical arguments.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:49 p.m.

I would peg the chances of this suit getting past summary judgement at about .01%


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:48 p.m.

Honestly, I have many issues with he city, but this lawsuit is a bunch of bunk! If the patrons were truly behaving themselves, there would never have been an issue. I don't believe any conspiracy ever existed to oust the club, but I do think efforts were put forth to get to the bottom of all the disruptions that came from this establishment. Ann Arbor has enough to deal with - we don't need a dump like this in the city.

Les Gov

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:47 p.m.

I agree….the City should be sued……..sued for allowing this place to remain open. How many people need to get shot before the city closes this place down? Why hasn't the State shut this place down? How many girls need to be attacked in this place before the Government does something? Our great local government wants to have the police stand around with stop watches to make sure no one allows their cars to idle for too long……..but are local government seems to care very little about crimes against people…..otherwise they would have closed this place a long time ago. Just amazing the priorities that our local government has…..


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:21 p.m.

Well, it's only 3 fountains.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

Funny! Is no one aware that Studio Four, rowdy as it was, was a big A2 Police hangout?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:01 a.m.

Yea a big police hangout, in uniforms and squad cars and pepper gas. Nice try.....


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 12:36 a.m.

Didn't Studio Four shut down and become Dream?


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

This place is a hole. Over 200 calls, and it's the city harassing them. How about them harassing the city. Tying up all of it's resources (police, fire, EMS). This place is a joke and this lawsuit is an even bigger joke.

Robert Granville

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 9:28 a.m.

How many calls do they field from other campus night clubs? Do you know or have you simply decided that Dream has more without that knowledge?


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11 p.m.

This is another of those &quot;are you kidding me&quot; stupid lawsuits. This place has been a long term nuisance run by people that lack any regard for rules and regulations. Lock the door, lock the owners up and throw away all the keys.

Michigan Man

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

Why only $3 million suit? Sounds a little light to me? The City of Ann Arbor cannot be this cash strapped these days? Perhaps this is the liberal elite of Ann Arbor really harrassing honest business owners trying to establish normal commerce centers?


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

At first, I started laughing at your overly-sarcastic and ironic breakdown of the situation. Now I'm worried you might actually be serious.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

The City of Ann Arbor likely has a liability insurance carrier which will pay out any settlement and provide a legal defense.

Michigan Reader

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

That wouldn't make sense. The city could use the property tax revenue.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

What are you people talking about? This place was a horrible public nuisance and should have been shut down long before it was.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

&quot;City officials are subjecting Dream to heightened scrutiny because it's the only minority establishment in the downtown area, the lawsuit claims.&quot; Isn't the police chief African-American? And how is this a minority club? Do they not let white people in? Sounds as tho they are the racists. Really a minority club?

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

This is what happens when the city allowed to liquor license to be renewed/transferred when they had the chance to shut down this place legally. More incompetent mismanagement by the City Attorney who, now that's his misguided the city on scores of other issues, now wants to be a judge.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.

I have said that all along. If the bar is as bad as the City Attorney claims, the Liquor Control Commission will suspend or revoke the liquor license after the bar is granted due process. Of course in Ann Arbor you do not need due process if you are a city official and want to shut a business down - just waltz into a judge's office and get your order while opposing counsel is frozen out of the process - ask attorney David Shand.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

Good for them. As with other bars in the city, this place has received more attention than several other places that has had the same level of trouble. Not to mention the annual party on Greenfield, student parties, student bars. But, if the clientele is of a certain background....


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

And if you're concerned about issues of prejudice, definitely check out how the Mangrays feel about &quot;clientele of a certain background.&quot; <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Compliments of SC.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2 a.m.

What other bars have had a similar level of trouble?? Are you kidding? And it's kind of hard to take a liquor license away from a college party, or infringe on right to assemble. Regarding an establishment with a state license, it's pretty easy to figure out and fix the problems, of which there are many here.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 12:59 a.m.

Funny, I remember seeing mostly white kids at the 5th Quarter, before they were shut down for similar reasons.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 11:17 p.m.

That would be Greenwood, I believe.


Wed, Jan 18, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

The government harassment sustained by this business is unbelievable. They were shut down without prior hearing last June by Judge Timothy Connors. I hope the city will pay through the nose over this. And Postema loses his quest for a circuit judicial seat over his conduct in this case.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

&quot; police have 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 a fighting broke out inside and outside that resulted in a man being shot in a neighboring parking lot.&quot; ...It isn't harassment if they are calling the police to help with enforcement and people are being seriously injured in altercations.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 3:39 a.m.

AH! Timothy Connors is a Judge. He has the power to shut them down if he judges them a nuisance (which they are by the way).