ND’s Fuego closes, Viashow Inc. declares bankruptcy
JACOB KEPLER/LAS VEGAS WEEKLY
Monday, June 15, 2009 | 12:04 p.m.
Fuego, ND’s Fuego, ND’s The Club and the future ND’s Space: all done for since parent company Viashow Inc. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on June 1, reportedly owing various clients, skilled workers and staff over $1.5 million.
According to a former employee, owner Nicole “ND” Durr’s four-wall deal with The Rio has been reportedly bringing in between $20,000 and $30,000 per month since the club opened February 12, not enough to float her multiple, simultaneous projects. Official letters were sent out informing ND’s creditors, clients and colleagues of the bankruptcy including Taylor Construction and consultant Neil Moffitt. The letters, dated June 11, instruct them to respond via legal council if ND has any outstanding balances with them. The claims are now mounting.
Among the respondents will be Frankie Anobile of True Nightlife, who says Viashow owes him over $19,000 for his financing upfront of ND’s street team and DJs.
“I’m not even shocked,” says Anobile, “because … I’ve been wrong with only one prediction in my career and this was not it.” Anobile goes on to say that he knew ND’s The Club was doomed from minute one.
Going into her pre-shift meeting Saturday night, ND’s The Club operations manager Natalia Badzjo said having to tell the staff that this was their last night was going to be very hard on her. The venue had unexpectedly closed Wednesday and Thursday of last week, but an engagement already booked by Vegas Alliance’s Gino LoPinto opened the doors back up Friday night for Nadia Ali’s performance and Saturday night as well.
ND’s problems have been mounting over the last months and weeks. On May 26, ND laid off her entire technical staff as well as numerous of her company staff, including veteran nightlife executive Viashow managing partner Mike Milner. The final decision, made effective today and issued via a short press release, is for ND to close the nightclub “in order to pursue future projects in other formats.” Indeed, she created a new company Netgreat, LLC with co-manager JL Jordan III on May 26.
A representative for the Rio confirmed the closure Saturday. Rio and Harrah’s executives have been in meetings throughout the weekend to discuss—once again—the future of the space formerly known as Club Rio, The Scinta Showroom, 3121, ND’s Fuego and finally ND’s The Club.
“We regret that ND has decided to close Club Fuego, however we have enjoyed a positive partnership with ND and respect her desire to explore alternative projects,” said Marilyn Winn, president of Rio, Paris and Bally’s Las Vegas. “We have benefited from her originality, creativity and enthusiasm and wish both ND and her talented team much success as they continue to develop the various elements of the brand.”
And then there’s ND’s Space at Palazzo, another ND brand element that appears to be dead, this one before ever even opening.
In February of 2008 Las Vegas Weekly reported that ND’s impending coup de grace, ND’s Space—a 21,000-square foot triple threat of ultralounge, intimate performance venue and high-end coffee joint in the Palazzo—was on track for an August 2008 opening. That quickly became a spring 2009 opening, which was further delayed to Labor Day 2009 when major construction snags held things up. When General Growth Properties, owner of the Shoppes at the Palazzo, also declared bankruptcy, ND again paused construction.
But what may have seemed at that time to be a setback might actually be a blessing in disguise. ND is only out up to a reported $7 million (“hundreds of thousands of dollars” on preliminary construction, says Milner, and many millions on high-end German blue prints, designers and scale models, according to another former employee). At its completion, “It would have been a $30 million property,” says Milner. She walked away from that project about two weeks ago when Viashow declared bankruptcy.
The Rio’s rep was unable to comment on the ND’s Space project; Badzjo could not be immediately reached for further comment.
Asked to pinpoint the most major misstep in this dramatic dissolution, Milner suspects that ND’s showFuego at the Sahara was a fatal error, a money pit that sucked up countless financial resources before closing, “a total loss,” he says.
“I really wanted to get [ND’s] Space going,” says Milner, who is now taking some time off before plotting his next professional move. “It was very disappointing to me that we weren’t able to do that.”
Despite the fact that his final paycheck bounced, Milner had one bit of final ND’s business to do Saturday, informing Metro police that he would no longer need the business and liquor license ND’s The Club had applied for.