By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
We hear there's already trouble brewing at the newly opened Estate (né the Limelight). Neighborhood watchdogs the Flatiron Alliance are suing the State Liquor Authority, contending that the club's liquor license should be considered "new," not transferable. It also alleges the license is a breach of the 500-feet law (which maintains that no more than three liquor licenses can exist within 500 feet of each other).
The judge hasn't ruled on the matter yet. Why? Acting Manhattan Supreme Court justice Marylin Diamond is busy with her own problems. She was recently accused of faking her own death threats so that she could get security detail (paid for by you and me). Her case is still being investigated.
The drama doesn't end there. Members of Community Board 5 and the Flatiron Alliance are also fuming, saying they've been duped by the Chelsea club. They allege that respected gay party promoter and co-owner John Blair is just a front, and that Spa's David Marvisiis the real puppet master behind Estate. (Super gossip Michael Mustofirst reported the rumor back in July.)
Let's rewind. Young real estate mogul Ben Ashkenazy bought the building back when Peter Gatien was first facing trial. Then when the former club kingpin went bust, Ashkenazy bought the business from bankruptcy court for $3 million and sold it to his wife, Debra Ashkenazy, and Blair. Blair, who is well liked in Chelsea, was paraded before the community boards and the State Liquor Authority as the new owner. Community Board 5 recommended against the license but the SLA went ahead anyway, saying that a Blair club would be a boon for the gay community, as gay clubs are considered less troublesome than the straight party set.
"It is my job as managing partner to make sure that we deliver to the community and state the promises we made when applying for the liquor license," says Blair.
Marvisi entered the picture recently, say sources. After the liquor license was granted, his car (a canary yellow Bentley) was frequently spotted parked outside Estate during renovations. Rumors abound that not only is Marvisi now part owner of the building, he's also running the club, pushing Blair out of the, yep, limelight.
Says a source: "If he's just a landlord, fine. But if he's running the business end in any way, then it's a veil, and that's illegal." Even Blair seems confused: "I have been told (but have never seen any proof) that he [Marvisi] owns some part of the building with Ben Ashkenazy."
One insider says as far he knows, it's common knowledge that Marvisi is a "principal owner" of the club, and that he's running things "temporarily."
Meanwhile, the only night that has Blair's gay-gay-gay stamp on it is Sunday. The rest of the week is run by promoters who prefer a straight, bottle-service clientele.
Blair confirmed that Marvisi "is (for the moment) acting as our straight promotional director. My partner Ben Ashkenazy felt that he could help Estate with straight parties. [Marvisi] is not my partner."
Marvisi would not return repeated calls to his cell phone and his business.
Apparently DJ Hell and Larry Tee have buried the hatchet. If you remember, the two had a falling out after the first Electroclash festival last year. Hell had insisted that the festival was his idea and that Tee had stolen the concept and even the name. He told me last spring: "[Tee's] a very dangerous guy and I think he will destroy the scene in New York very soon."
The kiss-and-make-up session happened while Tee was filming a documentary about Fischerspooner. Hell was waiting outside for his turn to be interviewed when Tee went up and gave the German DJ his hand. "I told him he was the man, which is hard for anyone to resist, right? And so we laughed about the conflict and made up." Good thing, too. Hell's staying in New York for two months while he makes his next record.
Meanwhile, Tee is going to have the Fischerspooner cover band Fishyspoon play at his Luxx party in December. Is that a crazy case of art imitating life or what?
Matter/:Form's winter boat bash last Saturday night left a bunch of partyers stranded. Some fans who paid for advance tickets were fighting mad that they got left behind for the four-hour Layo & Bushwacka set, but producer Elan Akerman waved a white flag on naughtybooth.com in an attempt to broker post-party peace. "If anyone reading this did not get in to the boat but had previously bought their ticket, please contact Elan for: A complete refund, 1 chocolate chip cookie, a glass of milk, and of course, an apology."
Can I have a cookie, too?