There have surely been dicier business propositions than the sale of Jardine’s...
Then again, I’ve yet to be privy to one. Let’s review, shall we?
Following a series of flareups with her manager / chef, Jardine’s owner Beena Raja and a hairstylist pal returned to the club by cab in the wee hours Thanksgiving morning to retrieve the stylist’s car. Only to discover a passel of servers drinking and smoking illegally after hours at the club.
On Jardine’s dime, no less, Raja says.
Here’s where it gets a little dicey. Even though the staff was breaking the law – not to mention helping themselves to jazz club’s booze without paying – instead of firing everyone or sending them packing – Raja joined the group and they partied on well into the daylight hours.
Then later, after scolding the chef dude, he resigned, two subordinates were fired and a dishwasher walked, Raja says.
The rest is history.
A number of servers were apparently told they’d been fired and didn’t show up to work – even though they’d not heard directly from Raja. Another longtime server showed up at Jardine’s and tried to convince Raja to get a grip on herself and the business, sources say. However that backfired and ended in an unpleasent exchange with Raja calling the police on him.
Minutes later, the server’s stepfather, local jazz icon Stan Kessler and his band The Sons of Brasil showed up to play that night, learned of his son’s ouster, held an impromptu meeting outside on Main Street and decided not to play.
Oh, and one more thing…
Kessler then allegedly sent a mass email to other KC jazz musicians urging them not to play Jardine’s. Game on. A jazz club killing musician boycott ensued that rendered the club dark for most of the past two months.
The current nightmare / quagmire is so complex even the most ardent jazz afficionados would be hard pressed to strain through it for the inner truth.
But in a nutshell two parties, a former Sprint exec and a pair of well-intentioned gay dudes have been actively pursuing the purchase of Jardine’s. However, as of today, the club’s future and ownership remain completely up in the air.
Here’s what passes for what’s known…
The ex Sprint dude – Paul Wilson – was unable to carve out anything approaching a deal that made sense or could be accurately delineated. So now, he’s basically out.
"From here, if everyone else defaults or drops out, we’ll buy it," Wilson says. "My grandfather always told me, ‘You don’t wrestle with a pig. You find out in about 30 seconds that you’re dirty and the pig actually likes it. That’s where we are. We’re real dirty at this point."
That leaves hair stylist Robert McCain and partner Joseph Fulgenzi – who famously told the Pitch and Fox 4 last month they’d bought Jardine’s – still in the running.
According to Raja, former Jardine’s co-owner Pat Hanrahan and founder Greg Halstead – who is still owed money on the purchase of the club by Raja – McCain and Fulgenzi are still in negotiations with all parties to buy Jardine’s.
However, a final deal is yet to be struck.
And an important deadline in this complicated mess goes down tomorrow. That being that Raja’s monthly payment to Halstead is due. And if it’s not reciecved Halstead could move on the assets of the club.
The bottom line: If McCain and Fulgenzi make the payment to Halstead, come to terms with landlord American Century and clear up whatever back taxes and liquor expenses are owed, they just might become the actual new owners of Jardine’s.
That’s a pretty big "if" though.
All that said, pretty much everybody in this tired game is hoping they can pull it off.