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Issued: Tuesday 17 May 2016
The business owner of Kings Cross nightclub Dreamgirls, Michael Frank Amante, has been convicted and fined $7,000 and ordered to pay $1,500 in legal costs for his leading role in setting up and operating an illegal unlicensed bar at the club.
Liquor & Gaming NSW prosecuted Mr Amante after a joint raid with Police on 19 December 2015 uncovered the secret bar operating on Level 1 of the Darlinghurst Road venue.
Mr Amante today pleaded guilty in Downing Centre Local Court and was convicted. It followed the previous conviction of former Dreamgirls licensee, David Wilhelm Lakepa, on 10 May for his role in operating the bar.
During the raid, L&GNSW inspectors uncovered the makeshift bar, bottles of spirits, a bar fridge containing beer, served spirits on a table, a portable EFTPOS machine, and an intercom device. Customers and staff were interviewed and confirmed illegal alcohol sales had been occurring.
Mr Amante was not at the nightclub at the time of the raid but admitted in a subsequent record of interview that he had set up the illegal bar to boost business. He told inspectors the bar had been operating for 6 or 7 months but had been kept a secret because he knew the business was not supposed to be operating on Level 1 which was not a licensed area.
Illegal drink orders could be made by buzzing downstairs to the manager’s box or placing orders via an upstairs waitress, so “if any customers up there wanted alcohol, they could get it”.
Mr Amante said he had installed EFTPOS payment facilities and an intercom system between Level 1 and the basement level to enable illegal liquor sales, and had also been involved in taking lounges and other furniture up to Level 1, installing radiators, and ensuring the bar was re-stocked with liquor and mixers.
Following the raid Dreamgirls was served with a long term closure order and has since surrendered its liquor licence.