I got wind of the Yassine Enterprises scandal a week before SXSW from a local bar owner who said he was looking into buying Roial. This came as a shock until he unveiled the details of the trouble the Yassine family was in. I immediately mentioned the news to my close friend who has been a DJ and promoter in the Austin scene for over a decade. He refused to believe this nightlife powerhouse was about to go down. When news hit last Thursday, I was not surprised; however, I was disappointed as I thought of everyone this would affect. I thought about the sense of pride everyone had when Roial was recently awarded 2012 Nightclub & Bar Awards “Mega-Club of the Year” during SXSW.
On Thursday morning, news broke of an FBI raid assisted by the Austin Police Department in 4 downtown bars (Treasure Island, Pure, Fuel, & Kiss N’ Fly) and 10 people were arrested. The operation was also assisted by the Internal Revenue Service, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the State Comptroller’s Office and federal drug agents. (See noted news stories for more details about the investigation)
Everyone was shocked and confused by the news and many of us were directly impacted within hours of the raid on Yassine Enterprises. By lunchtime, the Austin Facebook community was buzzing both anger and sentiment towards Yassine Enterprises.
“I woke up to FBI agents at my door…lovely. Thank you Mike and Hadi Yassine for spreading your infectious bullshit to my doorstep.”
“More than 300 people out of work in a single day FUCK YASSINE.”
“Good luck guys! You got this.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your staff, and yours, Hadi!”
“Yassine should at least pay all their employees a severance pay since 200+ people have no job now because their idiots.”
“Oh snap! Yassine just got f’d in the A.”
“My prayers go out to all those who were employed by Yassine Ent. If you guys need anything I will try my best to help.”
“Looks like Kiss & Fly, Pure, Treasure Island, and other bars owned by Yassine Enterprises are getting popped for alleged drug trafficking, money laundering, and general douche-baggery.”
Employees answered back encouraging everyone to to come out to the bars that night and support them. I received a call from a client in New York with a national publication who had just read the press release informing him that TABC had temporarily suspended liquor licenses for all of the Yassine bars including. Roial was the number one choice for our upcoming event.
Since the weekend I’ve witness frustration involving hundreds of displaced employees, lost DJ gigs, and many parties & events having to regroup. Yassine Enterprises employees have not returned to work since Thursday and I spent several hours yesterday sourcing a new venue. I have also been receiving several inquiries about where to go out this weekend and where to book tables to entertain out of town visitors.
How do you think this mess will change the Austin nightlife scene? Where are your new hot spots?
I’ve heard about countless heinous stories involving Yassine Enterprises; however, I’ve had just as many amazing times in their establishments over the years. The group is innocent until proven guilty. The 10 suspects arrested are in court in front of the judge as I post this to set a hearing date and find out if he set a bond for their release.
In the meantime, I would like to hear your vents, rants, raves, etc about the situation. What do you foresee for the future of Austin’s nightlife scene?
If you know of any positions available in the Austin bar or restaurant scene, please post them here so we can help our displaced friends find new revenue streams quickly.
RELATED NEWS STORIES:
- FBI: Cocaine ring linked to 6th St bars
- Feds Raid Sixth Street Bars
- DOWNTOWN AUSTIN BAR RAID
- Feds and Austin police raid downtown bars and offices owned by Mike Yassine
- Fewer lines (of many sorts) downtown this weekend as Yassine Enterprises’ cohorts face federal charges following FBI bar raid (photo used from this story)