City to padlock Maverick's after Saturday night's melee at Landing nightclub

Owner says there were more than 20 security personnel during the party

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two days after a video of fights breaking out at a "final party" Saturday at Maverick's Live went viral on social media, the nightclub on the second floor of the nearly vacant Jacksonville Landing is being closed by the city of Jacksonville.

The video obtained by News4Jax shows fighting going on for some time with no sign of anyone trying to intervene.

Most businesses in the Landing had shut their doors by Friday's deadline to vacate. The city bought out the landlord's lease on the once-vibrant riverfront shopping center earlier this year, but the nightclub was one six businesses that signed a one-week extension.

Online promotion for Saturday night's party called a "Drink or Drown" party and said everyone over 21 could drink free until midnight. The nightclub's owner said the party hit the facility's 1,060 capacity before midnight.

"We did everything in our power to manage the situation. It was unfortunate, what happened, but we certainly had ample security, ample JSO," Darren Kurtz said. "We would never go into anything remotely close to this: letting anyone have a free-for-all. If I had that kind of reputation, I would not of been here for 12 years. I do appreciate the city giving us a holdover agreement. We had hoped we’d have one more night on Thursday. Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to happen."

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson was told there were four off-duty Jacksonville police officers and 19 private security personnel on hand at Maverick's on Saturday night, but added you never have enough security "when you crowds of people like that and alcohol involved."

Asked about the violence at the nightclub, a city official said Sunday that it won't be tolerated.

“Bar and restaurant owners are required to operate safely and in compliance of laws and regulations no matter where they are located,” wrote Brian Hughes, chief of staff to Mayor Lenny Curry. “We will speak with the operator ... but anticipate this is the final event at that location.”

Monday morning, the city said the business will be padlocked and not allowed to reopen. News4Jax is at the Landing to see when that will happen.

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