Kids, your assignment today is to read the Austin Chronicle's thorough, noir-style rundown of the recent Yassine Enterprises drama. You remember Mike Yassine. He's the guy at the head of what the government says are some very, very shady operations at a series of nightclubs downtown--Qua, Treasure Island and Pure, among a host of others--that were raided earlier this year, resulting in drug, firearms and money laundering charges for ten people, including Yassine himself. Richard Whittaker reports:
To some, the Yassines were the kings of Sixth and the Warehouse District. Theirs were the glossy, high-end, high-concept establishments – one step below private clubs, one step above shot bars. They were the men who introduced bottle service to Austin and built a shark tank into the dance floor at Qua. No one could ever accuse them of scrimping on their bars, but on the street, they were always divisive. "Too Dallas," the scuttlebutt went. Disgruntled ex-employees were suing over unpaid salaries. Kiss & Fly had a reputation for being the least gay-friendly gay bar in town. And since half the time they looked empty, how were these places making any money? The feds and the state of Texas think they know.
The weekly also tackles the more sordid rumors surrounding the group. Are they affiliated with Hezbollah? "There's no substance." Did Mike Yassine have something to do with the 2006 death of business partner Paresh Patel? Nothing concrete, but the Austin Police Department considers him a 'person of interest.' But even without the Yassine empire, Sixth Street, writes Whittaker, "will go on long after they drift into Austin legend and lore."
Qua, former home of dance floor sharks. [Photo: Yassine/Official]