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Nightclub could face hefty tab from police

Ben Godar

A local nightclub could soon be picking up the tab whenever police

are called to break up fights or settle other problems there.

The police have Gitana Restaurant in their sights after responding

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to a 50-person melee outside the establishment early Sunday. More

than 10 officers were called to the scene, and one of them suffered

minor injuries when a man allegedly resisted arrest.

In the past six months, police have received an average of 25

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calls per month to the nightclub, according to police records. Under

the club’s conditional-use permit, which allows it to operate in the

city, Gitana can be charged when officers are called there more than

three times in a month.

Incidents at the club, at 260 E. Magnolia Blvd., have varied from

minor disturbances and complaints of intoxication to car burglaries

and assaults, police spokesman Sgt. Bruce Speirs said.

“I would categorize most of the calls to Gitana as dealing with

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intoxicated people who get into fights,” he said.

In addition to the recent melee, stabbings were reported outside

the club in August and January.

Gitana owner Andres De Leon is out of the country, employees said.

A manager at Gitana said he was unaware of any charges being levied

by the police department.

Pending calculation of the charges and a review process, police

will bill the club for calls from the past six months, but Speirs

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said he had no estimate Friday of the total tab. The charge will be

based on the number of officers sent to each call, their rank and how

long they were at the restaurant. The charge for each officer is

$36.61 per hour, and each sergeant is $45.98 per hour. Speirs said

the use of other resources, such as the police helicopter, also come

with an hourly charge.

In March alone, police said they were called to Gitana 28 times.

Glendale Police said they were called only twice this year to

Giggles, a nightclub of similar size in that city’s downtown area.

Burbank has no other restaurant-nightclub establishments similar in

size to Gitana, which has an occupancy of more than 300.

The department also has charged Sensation Village, a nightclub in

Burbank Village, for excessive service calls. That club closed in

January after the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control declined

to renew its liquor license. While the police decision to charge

Gitana for service calls will not directly affect its liquor license,

excessive police calls are one factor the agency considers when

renewing licenses.


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