Marc Stein, owner of Club Aura — the, shall we say, controversial nightclub on the 600 block of North Front Street — has filed a federal lawsuit against a long list of people and entities he thinks maliciously conspired against his business. That includes: the city, the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association (NLNA), NLNA officers, the blogs Philebrity and Philadelinquency, and leadership of the Philadelphia Police Department's Sixth District.
Stein says in the complaint that Aura, whose "clientele is 'upscale urban,'" suffered from a campaign by the NLNA, whose members "tirelessly made efforts to inhibit" the good times at the nightclub. He alleges that his right to due process was violated in the denial of his application for a special assembly license (which has not apparently stopped Aura from hosting all manner of events).
He alleges that Police Capt. Brian Korn and Police Sgt. Michael Brennan selectively enforced laws and conducted inappropriate inspections with the goal of threatening and harrassing his patrons. He's claiming NLNA president Matt Ruben and zoning chair Larry Freedman discriminated against him and interfered with his business.
And, he's suing for defamation, targeting Ruben and Freedman, who was quoted on Philebrity as calling Aura's clientele out for "inhuman and uncivilized behavior," and Judy Donovan, a neighbor who remarked, "Rot in hell, Club Aura!" before griping to Philebrity about clubgoers urinating in the streets. He's also going after a neighbor, Brian Witz, a neighbor who slammed the club on Twitter as a "nuisance," griped about it on the NorthernLiberties.org message board and, allegedly, undertook a campaign of harassment, resulting in Stein being "held up to odium, scorn and contempt among his neighbors." Witz lived next door the club, and complained about inadequate soundproofing.
The list goes on. And on. Here's Philadelinquency's take on the matter.
Stein was also the mastermind behind Club Rain in Old City, where the civic association recently closed up shop following a series of lawsuits by developers and business owners.
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