Langdon Residents Try to Shut Local Club

Stadium Club Site of Stabbing and Shootings

The Stadium Club has been the center of controversy in the Langdon community fotr at least two years due to the violence associated with it.

WASHINGTON — The Stadium Club, a northeast nightclub that has been closed repeatedly due to shooting and stabbings, is now open and under new management, but some residents still want the popular spot closed and are opposing its application to renew its liquor license.

The seven-member Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABCB), which is made up of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) members from all wards except Ward 3, is currently considering the club’s application to renew its license.  Scores of area residents and members of the local ANC are opposing the club's request.

Nearly 100 residents signed a petition that was presented to the board asking that the license not be renewed.

The club, where five people were shot in May and which has been shut down twice over the past two years following stabbings, went before the ABCB Dec. 3 for a hearing on whether its license would be renewed.   

"During the hearing, residents from the community gave testimony on issues ranging from trash, crime, parking and noise before concluding the protest,” said Ward 5 ANC commissioner Karla Butler.

At the hearing, the ANC requested a community agreement and asked that the club employ more police during nights and weekend, Butler said.

Residents originally brought their concerns about the nightclub to the board Oct 30.   Butler has been the residents’ chief spokesperson.

“Stadium Nightclub has repeatedly ignored and disregarded requests from the surrounding community to prevent excessive littering, trash and noise disturbance from its patrons,” Butler said.   “Stadium Club has negatively impacted the surrounding residential community and neighboring business corridors; and since the last renewal of the liquor license in 2010, the establishment has had a long history of repeated incidents of violence.”

ANC Commissioner Robert King said Ward 5 ANC hired an attorney to accompany Butler to represent the community at the three-hour hearing.

ABCB members have 90 days from a hearing to render a decision.  If the club’s liquor license is approved for another three years, the ABCB could add conditions restricting the operating hours of the club or prohibiting the insurance of certain endorsements for entertainment, according to Jessie Cornelius, spokesperson for the board.   If the club is denied a license, it would not be able to be reconsidered a new license for five years, Cornelius said.

Stadium Club owner Rudolph Thomas told investigators for the board that he has made vast improvements to the club’s culture, according to a report supplied to board members. Thomas said in the report he has doubled police personnel on the days he is required to have them. He said he also hired a cleaning crew to clean the area surrounding the club every night.

Some residents feel the Stadium Club, which is located in the Langdon neighborhood, brings negative attention to the area and invites trouble.

Other residents, like Cedric Thompson, 58, a cab driver and lifetime Washingtonian, disagree.

 “I don’t think it bothers anybody, because they have a high police presence there anyways,” Thompson said. “I’ve been everywhere, George Washington [University], Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, they have to have a high police presence everywhere, because there’s alcohol involved.”

Others said the club is no more troubling than any other nightclub.

Exxon Gas station attendant Yohanes Werken said he has not experienced a lot of unusual trouble with the nightclub in the past few months. He said other club promoters to come in and display their flyers at the Stadium Club to attract business to their establishments.

Jeffery Williams, front desk manager of the Fairfield Inn & Suites on New York Avenue not far from Stadium, also doesn’t mind the extra attention. He said it is good for business.

 “I haven’t seen any rowdiness from that club aside from what any other club has,” Williams said. “Like any typical night, somebody could get angry at a person, and it’s not due to the fact that it’s Stadium.

“I think they’re pretty decent. I know pretty much some of the management and some of the people that are frequently there a lot. They’re people who’re just looking for a good time at night. They actually choose Stadium, because Stadium has that criteria where you have to be a certain age. You can’t come in just dressed any type of way.”

Ivonna Anderson, a hostess at stadium nightclub, shared her thoughts on the nightclub’s clientele.

 “A mixed crowd, but because of the publicity from the rappers, we kind of just attract everybody,” Anderson said.

Stadium Nightclub has been mentioned in music by numerous rap artists, such as Wale, Drake, Fat Trel and Shawty Lo.

“I mean it’s a club,” Anderson said.  “So, if it were anywhere, it would be the same. Echostage is next door and honestly they get more people than we do.”

Echostage is a neighboring club whose liquor license has also recently been challenged by area residents.

Police have responded to shootings and stabbings at the Stadium Club, which residents say should be closed.