The partners at Wild Ivories, the dueling piano bar at 1400 Market Street, have not been making beautiful music together. On the day the club opened in June, Tim Kirkland, one of those partners, says he got an anonymous "Here's who you're doing business with" e-mail that outlined a check-fraud case involving Caz Bzdek, who'd reportedly done four years in prison for the crime.
Bzdek was the founder of Wild Ivories, the man who'd brought four other partners into the deal. But only Kirkland and another guy actually put up money, Kirkland says: "What was happening was that Caz as a managing partner was running up these bills — construction, marketing, advertising, vendor bills — but there was no capital contribution. Basically, I think Caz was counting on the club being so busy when the doors opened that the revenues would kind of hide all of this fraud and malfeasance and not paying contractors. The club opened in severe debt, which we didn't know about. We were under the impression from Caz that everything was being paid, and it wasn't."
The partners voted Bzdek out of the deal in July, Kirkland continues, after discovering that he tried opening credit-card accounts in a couple of the partners' names and forged other partners' signatures; they also filed reports with the Denver Police Department's fraud unit.
For his part, Bzdek says he chose to step down as managing member of the partnership. "From what I understand," he says, "in order to defer payment, they're telling people they can't pay it. They're saying there was embezzlement and that's why there's no money. I mean, there's just no truth to those allegations. No one has taken the money and run. No one has embezzled. I definitely went way over budget on a lot of things, a ton of stuff. We spent too much on the wood floors. There are lot of bills that aren't paid."
But the show is still going on at Wild Ivories, with dueling piano shows Tuesday through Saturday and DJs spinning in the downstairs Juke on Friday and Saturday, when the place is "really thumping," Kirkland says. The other partners have stepped up, and the building's owner has provided some bridge financing to help stabilize the situation. "I don't invest money that I can't lose," Kirkland explains, "but it's a bunch of people's jobs down there. I'm really dedicated to making sure it survives so that these people who have relocated — piano players who have relocated — can continue to work.
"Right now, my focus is to make this a successful entertainment venue and let the police and the district attorney sort out the rest," Kirkland concludes. "At the end of the day, it's a great concept; it's a great location. That location is hard to beat. We have the most talented piano players in the country. It's going to be a successful club. It's unfortunate we had to start out trying to fight our way for air."
Club scout: A block away from Wild Ivories, Pre-Game Sports Bar & Grill has gone dark, after opening just this past July in the former SportsBook/Lure space at 1434 Blake Street. The bar's owner, Jordyn Hollander, had hoped to open the upscale club Boudoir 1434 upstairs, but right now, he says he's pursing other opportunities.
Rockstar Aaron has moved Rollercoaster Tuesdays, his weekly '70s-'90s dance party, from Beauty Bar to Mo's (1037 Broadway), where there are $2 drink specials and no cover. DJ Iridel recently started Soul Service on Wednesdays at Interstate Kitchen & Bar (901 West 10th Avenue); he's spinning a variety of blues (including jump, boogie, old and junk), as well as '50s R&B and early rock and roll. Wednesdays are also big at the Robusto Room (9535 Park Meadows Drive in Lone Tree), which has brought back its Flip Night: Flip a coin, guess it right, and your drink is free.
Finally, on Friday, October 15, Suite Two Hundred (1427 Larimer Street) will host the Haute & Naughty Halloween Fashion Show, with complimentary Three Olives Vodka drinks from 9 to 11 p.m. and music by DJs Nick Skeet and Pat Allen.