City leaders want to close troubled San Jose nightclub

January 6, 2011 7:46:14 PM PST
A showdown is in the works between the owner of a downtown night club and San Jose officials who say it should be shut down.

The face-off will be held in court on Jan. 24. The city says their case has been bolstered by a New Year's Day incident where police say the staff of Club Wet did not call police or for paramedics when a woman patron was beaten in the face with stiletto heels, causing puncture wounds inside the mouth and throat.

"The reality is we have many well managed clubs and bars and venues in the downtown... very responsible owners who work with police to be safe, and we have one of the safest downtowns in the country as a result," San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo said.

City Attorney Rick Doyle says Club Wet is operating with an entertainment license that expired Oct. 15, 2010. The nightclub is located in a somewhat desolate strip of South First Street, surrounded mostly by empty storefronts or party venues available for rent. Next door is a hookah lounge and across the street is a restaurant featuring Southern cuisine. Neither is open during the daytime.

A YouTube video shows a drunken brawl that broke out at wet in September, 2009. Club security tried to break up the fights and even resorted to a stun gun. Earlier that year, five people were stabbed during another fight.

A YouTube video shows a drunken brawl that broke out at wet in September, 2009. Club security tried to break up the fights and even resorted to a stun gun. Earlier that year, five people were stabbed during another fight.

"Each time they've said, 'yes, we'll step up and beef up our security and we'll report any problems to the police, and we'll limit alcohol.' They really haven't met those conditions," said.

Doyle says the police have responded 100 times in the past nine months to complaints or disturbances at the club.

Owner Mike Hamod was not available for comment, because he is returning from a trip to the Middle East today. His attorney, Norman Matteoni, told ABC7 News that the club has been working with San Jose Police to make sure the venue is safe.

"It's a cooperative situation, and I would hope that we could come back with the police department and work together," he said.

We've requested statistics from San Jose Police to determine if Club Wet's record is any better or worse in terms of police response to calls. We are hoping to secure those numbers later today and will share them, if and when they are available, online and on ABC7 News at 6.