In the latest incident at the ultrahot and scandal-scarred Marquee nightclub in Chelsea, prosecutors yesterday charged a Queens man in the kidnapping and rape of a woman who passed out while drinking there back on the night of March 22. The incident, the latest in a series at the trouble-plagued club, occurred just ten days before a group of law enforcement unions threw an April 1st fundraising benefit there -with club owners comping the $10,000 rental fee — for Manhattan D.A. candidate Leslie Crocker Snyder.
According to a criminal complaint filed yesterday against Luis Zambrano, 38, detectives viewed club videotape that showed the woman passed out on a club sofa while Zambrano was “kissing and fondling” her, with his hand “on her vaginal area.” Surveillance tapes also show the victim “being dragged down a flight of stairs and dragged out of the . . .premises,” according to the complaint.
Zambrano, who pleaded not guilty and was released on bail, allegedly told cops he took the woman back to his College Point apartment where he had sex with her twice. The victim told investigators that “when she came to the next morning she was at an unknown location and defendant was having sexual intercourse with her.”
Club spokeswoman Samantha Kain said owners had no comment. Last fall, the club was dubbed “a public nuisance” by city officials and club owners paid a $100,000 fine to the State Liquor Authority after undercover cops bought cocaine there from patrons. And police are still investigating the disappearance of a 25-year-old Brooklyn woman, Laura Garza, who vanished after leaving Marquee back in December with a convicted sex offender.
The criminal activity at the site raised eyebrows last spring when it was revealed that the benefit for the ex-judge would be held at Marquee. Club owners also donated the rental fee as an in-kind contribution. At the time, Snyder’s campaign defended the site, saying Marquee’s problems did “not reflect on Leslie’s accomplishment or qualifications for office.” The campaign had no comment on the latest arrest.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 1, 2009