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Fury dispute to end soon, former official says

Past Newport mayor owns building that houses sushi lounge police say bolsters drunk driving, illicit drug use in the parking lot.

March 06, 2008|By Brianna Bailey

Former Newport Beach Mayor Tod Ridgeway confirmed Wednesday he owns the building that houses a popular sushi restaurant police allege is operating as an illegal nightclub.

Police claim the restaurant Fury Rok & Rol Sushi Lounge, 4221 Dolphin Striker Way, generates a high number of drunk driving arrests in the neighborhood and that its parking lot is a haven for illicit activity including the possible use of illegal drugs.

Ridgeway said he expected the clash between the city and his tenant to be resolved soon, but declined to comment further.

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The former mayor served six years on the Newport Beach Planning Commission and eight on the City Council before leaving the council in 2006 due to term limits.

A hearing Wednesday to determine whether to revoke the restaurant’s use permit was continued to 10 a.m. Monday.

Stephen Jamieson, an attorney representing Fury’s owners, said during the hearing that city officials have not given him enough time to respond to evidence gathered against the restaurant. Jamieson also disputed the city’s use of YouTube videos as evidence that allegedly show Fury patrons dancing and other nightclub-like activity.

Fury, an upscale Newport Beach hot spot, is licensed as a restaurant, but a police investigation found evidence the establishment has been promoting itself as a nightclub, according to Newport Beach Planning Commission documents.

Police officers have reported a high number of arrests of Fury patrons in the area for driving under the influence, according to police reports to the planning commission.

Police have made more than 40 arrests directly related to Fury patrons between July 1, 2007, and Feb. 3 — accounting for more than 30% of arrests in the neighborhood around the restaurant during the same time period, according to the police report.

The sushi lounge is authorized to serve alcohol, but it would need a different permit to operate as a nightclub and make patrons pay a cover charge


BRIANNA BAILEY may be reached at (714) 966-4625 or at brianna.bailey@latimes.com.

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