A Short History of the Big Dipper

The name was given to the building by George Dorn in the early 80's or late 70's. George is a contractor and a musician. He is responsible for the fine staging. George let go of the project.

The lease-hold reverted to Bud Sukin. The building was owned by a trust administered by Eugene Huppin. The trust sold the property to Select Realty Inc.(Select)

In 1988 Bud assigned the lease to Intelligent Rock and Roll Inc., a Washington State Corporation. (IRRI)

In early 1989 IRRI applied for and secured a Cabaret License, a City Business License, a State Business License, a Liquor License.

The Cabaret License was paid for and issued until the latter part of 1995.

The business ran from 1989 until 1995 as an event facility that had alcohol (beer and wine) and cigarettes for sale. During that time there were various complaints from the Downtown motel regarding noise and patrons of the Dipper. The code, then and now, requires that any facility with a Cabaret License must not allow sound to leave the premises. The Downtowner motel management complained. Officer Grandinetti acted as liaison between the Motel and IRRI. Motel management and IRRI came to an understanding.

IRRI modified the wall between the stage and the motel office and sleeping quarters. The lease expired and the property reverted to Select Realty Inc., formally Salus Inc.

Select, by this time, owned the building and leased it to Brad Rudkin. Mr. Rudkin secured all the necessary licenses, including a Cabaret License. He ran it in much the same manner; Selling alcohol and cigarettes to make money while providing a space for artists to perform. After 3 months Mr. Rudkin left the venture and all the licenses for the facility were either ran out or were forfeited.

In the latter part of 1997, directors of  Salus Inc. applied for a Cabaret License in hopes of renting the facility for public events, e.g. high school reunions, wedding receptions, cd release parties, video presentations, band competitions, business meetings, banquets, wedding anniversaries, etc.

Alcohol and cigarettes were not to be sold.   And yet:

The Cabaret License was denied. Here is the letter of  October 16, 1997 from the City. The key paragraphs read as follows:

"Officer Grandinetti discussed with you the possibility of your seeking a licensed contractor and professional engineer to eliminate the music emanating off  your premise. Officer Gandinetti advised you to seek these people out, find out what needs to be done then do the work and have a professional engineer sign a letter stating that he/she has completed the work, and the work done will not allow music to emanate off your premise, to be sealed with the engineer's stamp and notarized."

"Then, if you bring this letter into our department, we will discuss the possibility of the issuance of a cabaret license."

Since these demands are and were impossible, the building became difficult to use. A prospective tenant, SPIKES inc., could not secure a "cabaret license."

After 34 months of trying to find another use or a tenant and paying over $4000 in real estate taxes, Select took the position it has the right to rent out a building on a nightly basis or any space therein and to anyone.

A non profit organization, RAWK, did a couple of  shows. The Department informed Select Realty that a Cabaret License was necessary. The property was leased to The Universal Heart Center (UHC) and the Cabaret License was granted 10/27/00.

From that date until January 11, 2002 UHC grossed over $1000 per month, paid the appropriate taxes on said income. No complaints of noise issued from the Downtowner motel.  UHC tried to renew the license and was given a letter, denying the license.

The failure to grant a Cabaret License from November 19, 1997 until October 27, 2000 resulted in loss of 34 months of rental income to UHC and Select Realty Inc. The amount of damage is indeterminate. Based on the income generated during October 27, 2000 until January 11, 2002 the value is at least $1000 per month or a minimum of $34,000. Add the amount the jury will allow for how much better UHC and Select would have been doing had they had that cash flow. Add the amount the department is costing even now and the suit should be for over $50,000.

Sue? On what theory? Is that too much?

Your thoughts?  More info?

Things work themselves out:  Theatre’ de la Politique

Steve Spickard
Sue Marion

Do "Cabaret" codes violate freedom of speech constitutional rights?

JAMPAC,  a non-profit organization which represents and advocates on behalf of artists, music industry professionals and music fans in the political arena thinks so.  If our matter comes to trial, this issue will be pursued.

If  JAMPAC prevails, the city will not get any more money from "Cabaret Licenses" and could be liable for past payments of  fees.

Could a "Class Action" law suit be successful to return all license fees to the victims of an unconstitutional ordnance?