Brookfield club closed by police

BROOKFIELD – While township police were boarding up a Standard Avenue nightspot that officers say was a hotbed of criminal activity, county prosecutors were filing a nuisance complaint in court against Club Vixen, formerly Club Pearl, Club Pink and the Playground.

A news release Tuesday from Brookfield police said workers in the township road department boarded up the building and an employee of the business was arrested on an unrelated warrant.

Police say three owner-operators of the club were served with 17 charges related to illegal alcohol sales in the business that operated as a bar.

“It was just annoying on weekends,” said Bill Greenawalt, who lives down the street from Club Vixen.

He and Wendy Wilson, both of 7989 Second St., agreed Tuesday that the club brought trouble to the area. Wilson said that on more than one occasion there were fights in the parking lot across from the couple’s home, where they live with two children and where more kids are always in and out.

“We’d find all kinds of trash and beer cans in the yard,” Wilson said.

Greenawalt and Wilson said last week they were visited by someone saying they were the owner of the club. He promised them that the new Club Vixen would be great for the area and different from the previous establishments – though the sign on the front door still reads “Club Pearl” and the street sign out front still reads “The Playground.”

Their next-door neighbor, Gail Holsing, met the news of the club’s closing with approval.

“I’m very glad about it,” she said.

She has been living in the neighborhood for the past eight years and said when the establishment opened it caused many more problems than in recent days. The club brought unwanted high-speed traffic and late night noise to her Second Street home as well.

A complaint in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court states plainly that the club doesn’t have a liquor permit and state liquor agents paid $5 or $10 cover charges and bought beer, vodka, Jell-O shots and other liquor at the place on different dates in May and June.

On May 18, according to the complaint, agents saw five unidentified customers near the front entrance of the building smoking pot.

On May 11, agents say they were ”patted” down at the door in an apparent search for weapons, but a patron right behind them said he had a ”piece” on him and was allowed to enter without a pat-down.

The same day, agents said they were approached by two female ”dancers” and one of the dancers indicated she wanted to leave but was unable to do so, the complaint states.

A police officer said he spotted a used condom on the floor of the club where a dancer and a male subject were after a call came in to stand by while some employees were allegedly fired.

On May 26, the complaint states police were called after a patron was beaten in the bathroom by two attackers until he was unconscious. When he awoke, he claimed he was missing $4,000.

In April, police were called there for a report of a ”big fight.” When officers got there, most patrons were gone.

The complaint said police have been called to the club since October of 2005, including nine calls in 2010; 11 calls in 2011; and 15 calls in 2012. There have already been 18 calls for service in 2013.

Along with noise complaints, disturbances, fights, suspicious vehicles, lockouts, spot checks and money escorts, other complaints include operation of a sexually-oriented business after permit hours, a stabbing, theft, car theft, possession of drugs, assault, OVI and warrant arrests.

The complaint lists Tammy Schmitt of Sharon, Pa., as an owner of the property; and Leslie Dilley of Sharon, Pa., Andrew Ziccardi and Shawn Ater, both of Pittsburgh, as ”occupants, tenants, persons in charge, care or control” of the property.

The nuisance complaint was assigned to Judge Peter Kontos and seeks a permanent shutdown of the building; a fine; court costs and costs for closing the property; and orders to sell off movable property inside the place.