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Quick and Dirty

Johnny G's Revenge

John Giorgilli Files Suit Against RWN Over Lease Of Hammerjacks Property

Frank Klein

By Van Smith | Posted 4/2/2008

John Giorgilli claims he has a valid three-year lease for the large downtown nightclub he wanted to open as Heaven ("Balling the 'Jack," Mobtown Beat, Jan. 30), and that the property's owner yanked it improperly ("Heaven Can Wait," Quick and Dirty, Feb. 6). That's according to a lawsuit filed March 20 by Giorgilli, his mother, and his nightclub business against the would-be landlord: RWN Guilford Avenue LLC, controlled by developer Richard Naing.

The property, which Naing eventually plans to use for a skyscraper, housed Hammerjacks nightclub from 1999 to 2005. Since Giorgilli's Heaven plans tanked in early February, another nightclub proposal, Bourbon Street Live, has been proposed for the site. Giorgilli's $30 million lawsuit asks the Baltimore City Circuit Court to put that deal, or any other intending to use the location, on hold until the court decides whether or not Giorgilli's lease is legitimate. The injunction hearing is scheduled for May. 28.

RWN executive vice president John Ginnever writes in a March 27 e-mail that RWN finds the suit "frivolous" and is "confident that the court will dismiss it in due course."

The old Hammerjacks property has been posted with a Baltimore City Board of Liquor License Commissioners notice that Bourbon Street Live's application for a new arena liquor license will receive a public hearing on or after April 3. But if the court grants Giorgilli's injunction, the Liquor License Board says the Bourbon Street Live proposal would have to be put on the back burner pending the outcome of the Heaven case.

"At this time," board spokesman Douglas Paige writes in a March 28 e-mail, "we have not scheduled a public hearing" on the Bourbon Street Live proposal. But if Giorgilli wins the injunction, "the Board would be obligated by law to comply."

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