City of Denver Could Close Beta Nightclub After This Weekend

Beta will have to shut down soon.
Beta will have to shut down soon. Evan Semón
click to enlarge Beta will have to shut down soon. - EVAN SEMÓN
Beta will have to shut down soon.
Evan Semón
Beta Event Center, a nightclub located at 1909 Blake Street in a part of downtown that's been the scene of several violent crimes this year, will need to shut down temporarily at the end of this weekend, according to a judge's order.

On September 26, Judge Beth Faragher of Denver County Court granted a motion for a temporary restraining order that the City of Denver had filed, claiming that Beta had become a public nuisance.

Normally, when a judge grants a temporary restraining order, a club has ten days before it must shut down, at least temporarily. Under those rules, Beta should have closed October 7. However, "according to the return of service filed on October 5, the temporary restraining order was not served until September 30 — so the Respondent’s attorneys have until October 10 to file a motion to vacate or modify the temporary restraining order. If they don’t file by October 10, then the temporary restraining order would enter, barring any other procedural irregularities," says Jacqlin Davis, a spokesperson for the Denver City Attorney's Office.

Asked about the temporary restraining order, Beta owner Valentes Corleons, who has argued that the city is targeting him because his venue's clientele is Black, responds that there is "nothing new, so we're getting ready for court. I should know something this week."

At the same time the city was filing a public-nuisance case against Beta, it had set a hearing regarding the potential removal of the venue's dance cabaret and tavern license over alleged code and law violations that have taken place at the club, including employing unlicensed security guards and over-occupancy. On October 18, the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses will hold an administrative hearing, formally called a Show Cause Hearing, in which Beta and Corleons will be able to argue against the allegations.

The Excise and Licenses hearing is the second time in the past eighteen months that Beta has been hit by a Show Cause Order related to code violations. In September 2020, the department issued an order charging that Beta had violated COVID rules that June. That case ended with a settlement agreement between the city and Beta.

The most recent Show Cause Order includes a description of undercover Denver vice detectives buying cocaine from a patron in one instance and buying what later turned out to be fake cocaine in another.

"Undercover police went in and bought coke from a customer,” Corleons says. “Why didn’t you arrest him? And why am I going to take the blame? I have eight cops in the building.”

Because of the public-nuisance case, however, Beta is no longer able to contract with off-duty police officers.

If the temporary restraining order takes effect on October 10, as scheduled, this weekend could be Beta's last — at least for the time being.
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Conor McCormick-Cavanagh is a staff writer at Westword, where he covers a range of beats, including local politics, immigration and homelessness. He previously worked as a journalist in Tunisia and loves to talk New York sports.