Councilman Jermaine Reed has notified the city's Regulated Industries Division that he's keeping tabs on its handing of a downtown nightspot with a troubled history. In a May 27 letter to the city's Regulated Industries Division, Reed volunteered to "help clear up any issues that could hinder the future success" of Club Xpressions at 220 Admiral Boulevard.
Gary Majors, the manager of the city's Regulated Industries Division, has taken steps to revoke the liquor license of Club Xpressions. Notorious for mayhem under a previous owner, the venue has continued to appear in the police blotter. A 19-year-old was shot and killed after leaving the club in March.
Del Hedgepath owns the building at 220 Admiral. He operated clubs named NV and NRG before the violent activity and other disturbances in and around his club forced him to give up his liquor license.
The club reopened as Xpressions last December.The new owners, the husband-and-wife team of Eric and Natasha Union, indicated that Xpressions would be less danger-prone than its predecessors. "I'm going to provide more security," Eric Union told The Pitch. "It'll be a more friendlier staff, feeling and environment." Hedgepath, he added, would have "no say-so" in the business.
Xpressions got off to a bloody start, however. A man was shot outside the club on New Year's Day. The Kansas City Star has reported there was a triple stabbing on opening weekend.
Most recently, Xpressions was mentioned in a May news story about a fatal wreck. A passenger was killed in a car driven by 32-year-old man police say was drunk. A passenger who survived the collision on U.S. 71 told police she met the driver at Xpressions.
Reed tells The Pitch his letter was a "fact-finding" effort. "I'm not, like, fighting to save Xpressions," he says.
In the letter, Reed stated that he's patronized the club and met the Unions. "I was impressed with the entertainment venue and the efforts the business owners have made to create a safe and upscale environment for adults," he wrote.
Reed asked for more information and drew Majors' attention to the the Unions' efforts "to create a safe entertainment venue."
In an interview, Reed suggests that he intervened in the name of due process. "I would hope that they would be vetted and treated fairly, just as well as any business," he says.
At the same time, he acknowledges that night clubs at 220 Admiral have posed a problem. "They've made every step possible to ensure that the club environment inside is one that is reputable," he says of the new owners.
UPDATE: The original post stated that Steven Lee Anthony Jackson, the 19-year-old murder victim, was killed in a parking lot outside the club. Jackson was allegedly gunned down at Eighth Street and Charlotte, which is approximately half a mile from Xpressions.