Sunday, July 9, 2017

Never underestimate David Koch: An interview with the man himself.

I've always said, "Never underestimate David Koch."  When you least expect it, he will pull another hit out of the depths of his imagination. 

At various times, David Koch owned four of Minneapolis' most popular night clubs from Seven Ultralounge to Escape, Bellanotte and the infamous South Beach. With lines stretching around the block, this kind of thing doesn't happen because of good luck. It happens to special people like David that have 'It." 

Late to the scene in 2008, I only caught the tail end of Bellanotte. I made it in twice before it closed. Enough times to know the place's magic.  Since then, I became a staple at Seven Ultralounge; David Koch's forth hit concept in Minneapolis.

In early 2017, I found myself in a very strange position. David Koch, a man for whom I had deep respect and who I had considered a good friend, was being pushed out of Seven Ultralounge by his minority shareholders while another good friend, Ken Sherman, was buying the restaurant. Most interestingly, neither one seemed to harbor any ill feelings toward one another. They both spoke of each other with respect. It was business and whatever feelings they were feeling were appropriately placed. So, while the country was in a complete stand off between political parties, two men who were each separately entrenched in high-dollar business dealings, were going about things, at least in regards to one another from my point of view, in a very respectable way. If we could all take a lesson from these two men, we could all be better off in politics, family relations and friendships. 

Myself, L.A. Nik, and my co-host Hessley Rey sat down with David Koch on Minneapolis911 to hear about the saga of Seven Ultralounge.

Click HERE to listen to the entire episode of Minneapolis 911 with special guest David Koch. 

David Koch was the founder of popular Minneapolis clubs from Seven Ultralounge, Bellanotte, Escape Ultralounge and South Beach.

The transcript of David Koch's interview is below:

L.A. Nik:
David cook has a lot of knowledge not only about David Koch but about the city of Minneapolis. He knows a lot about this city. How ya doing, David?

David Koch: I’m doing well. Thank you, Nik. How about yourself?

L.A. Nik: I am good. Good to see you brother.

Hessley Rey: He has a nice radio voice.

L.A. Nik: Oh he has the radio voice. He could be Tom Barnard!!

David Koch: Oh, I don’t know about that.

Hessley Rey: So for people who do not know you, David. Can you give your quick background? Who is David? What’s your story?

David Koch: I’m a simple kid from St. Paul who loved the night club industry when I was young. I used to go to a place that is now called First Avenue but back in the day it was called, Uncle Sam’s. And every Sunday night we went there and 2.000 people would pack in and you got inside there it was incredible. It was the bomb to simply be honest…because they had pyrotechnics in there. I remember the first night I was in there they had a great big bomb that went off. BOOM! Scared the…

L.A. Nik: That’s how I grew up too. Pyrotechnics in every club. That was awesome!

David Koch: It was. It was just an incredibly beautiful place.

L.A. Nik: It was a great time to be around.

David Koch: Yea, it was. It made ya feel good. People felt good. Music was good. That’s what made me want to go into this industry.

Hessley Rey: So then you did and ran successfully Seven, and what else was the other venue.

David Koch: Well it started with the infamous South Beach. So, as I listen to what you say, you’re really talking about something that came full circle. You know, nothing has really changed with crime, per say, in Minneapolis. Minneapolis has been this way since the mid-ninties. When I first opened up there were four officers for the entire downtown yet we were paying 40 percent of all the taxes in the entire city. So they finally opened up the First Precinct which wasn’t on fourth street, it was in another area. A long story short is, they finally had more and more officers and I guess I’m kind of the reason that they closed down First Avenue because in late 1997 a gentleman who was in jail two days before he got out, and walked into my night club after a Viking Game, when [The Vikings] were 16 and 1 or 15 and 2, something like that, and they were celebrating a win and a young man from Arizona was in there and the guy came in and started shooting people and this young man happened to stand up in the middle of this and unfortunately was shot in the head and killed.

Hessley Rey: Geez

L.A. Nik: That was at South Beach, correct?

David Koch: It was. And South Beach was a very, very famous place. It was the Studio 54 of Minneapolis at the time.

L.A. Nik: One shooting and they closed it?

David Koch: No, they didn’t close me. It was by far too popular. Too many people came out in support of us. Large corporations. 3M. McDonalds. General Mills. The Target Corporation. Everybody  you could think of sent someone in there to support us. Denny Green at the time told the Viking Players not to come. They boycotted him. They were all inside there. You had Daunte Cullpepper, Randy Moss, John Randle, Eddie McDaniel, Mitch Berger, Korey Stringer. God bless his sole.  All kinds of people. It was a wonderful time.

Hessley Rey: I remember, because at that time, I was still in high school, I remember friends and I coming downtown and looking at the line outside of South Beach, and being like, “ahhhhh wouldn’t that be so cool.”

L.A. Nik: Just dreaming?

Hessley Rey:…”wouldn’t that be so cool.”

L.A. Nik: “Wow. Wish we could go in there!”

Hessley Rey: Yeah, wishing I could even get close to the line of that place. You’re correct. It was Studio 54.

L.A. Nik: If you’d had those at the time (referring to Hessley’s chest) they might have let you in.

Hessley Rey: They may have. If I had a good fake ID. Yeah, that was way before I got these babies!

L.A. Nik: If you’d had that rack, they mighta let you in!

Hessley Rey: I know. I can’t tell you enough how glad I am that I invested in my body in this way. Anyway, back to you, David!

David Koch: Yes. um hmm..

Hessley Rey: So, you ran these establishments. You’re saying, crime, in your opinion has not gotten worse. What do you think has changed then? Since that time. Since you say, crime was still as rampant. What is different now?

David Koch: I think all things are cyclical. I spent some time in Los Angeles and I got to know some people that were a little bit north of L.A. and they were part of this Boca Chica blood group which distributed the heroin in Minneapolis. They brought literally through Chicago and up into the Twin Cities which is one of the largest heroine capitals, from what I understand, in the U.S. according to this young lady that I was talking to.

L.A. Nik: Well, Minneapolis is. We’re a hub. We’re one of the biggest hubs in America.

David Koch: It’s just incredible.

L.A. Nik:  It’s true though.

David Koch: You know, its a sad thing and that’s literally what I think goes on and there’s not enough, I believe, police knowledge, of what goes on because you know, these are hard working people; The officers of downtown. And just Minneapolis as a whole. Trying to figure out what goes on is very difficult. I’m listening to you talk about how people aren’t talking to the police. Well, you know what, that has been going on across the United States forever. When I opened up South Beach, obviously, I was down in South Miami and bringing the club scene back here to Minneapolis and I used to talk to there officers and there were parts of Miami where, you know, the guy who shot the guy would be standing right on top of them and the cops would come and say, “What happened?” And they would say, “Nothing!”

L.A. Nik: Well, you gotta remember cocaine built the skylines of Miami. So they let a lot of things slide.

David Koch: But this was even past that point, Nik. This was just a very, very tumultuous time in South Florida. And it’s just something that’s going on in every city. We’re sitting here talking about Minneapolis. I was out to dinner last night and they’re telling me that there’re talking about bringing in the armed forces, or whatever it is, in Chicago because of all the killings they’ve got there.

L.A. Nik: Yeah, they’re gonna bring the National Guard in.

Hessley Rey: Okay so two questions then. One is, did you, Nik, did you not say that the drug task force was dismantled?

L.A. Nik: Yeah, we don’t have a drug task force. We do. We actually don’t officially. But we do. We have like three cops that look at that. And we have Hennepin County which has a drug task force. But the city of Minneapolis, MPD, does not. They also do not have a gang task force because they were both dismantled for corruption because they were dealing drugs.

Hessley Rey: Oh nice. Okay then the other question I have is. Like, I don’t know a lot about Heroine. I’ve never been introduced to it myself. But, I do know that people can be on heroine pretty much undetected, right?  And be looking like really functional people.

L.A. Nik: Well, there’s a lot of functional addicts.

Hessley Rey: Didn’t you say there was one at Seven even who you said was like a really beautiful girl.

L.A. Nik: That wasn’t Seven. That was at Mona. A bartender at Mona passed away. [Overdosed] on heroine and you’d have never thought she was a heroine addict.

David Koch: Who?

L.A. Nik: The bar Mona that was in the 333 building.

David Koch: Oh, I thought you were talking about Seven for a Minute.

L.A. Nik: We want to get back on track. We gotta go to break in three minutes, but what happened to South Beach. 

BREAK: Time stamp: 26:20

David Koch: You know, South Beach was a very, very famous place. We had every major star, athlete, actor, business person. They would all come there and, you know, it got to a point where people wanted to be like [Seven] and so I said, “you know, I better sell it while I can make a nice profit.” And I did. And I built Escape Ultralounge which was ahead of its time.

L.A. Nik: I wasn’t here for Escape. I heard about it. What was the location of Escape?

David Koch: It was in Block E. It was on the second floor. It was 12,300 square feet. It was quite the place.

L.A. Nik: That’s a big place.

David Koch: Green room. Listen, I had professional football agents trying to do contracts with Laurence Maroney up in a green room we had there. So yeah, it was… R-Kelly did a concert for me for $5,000 after doing one across the street for $250,000.

L.A. Nik:  I heard about that. I heard about the R-Kelly thing. We gotta go to break.

Hessley Rey: We will be back with more David Koch and this week’s 911 calls. So stay with us. There is a lot more to come and you’re gonna want to hear it.

BREAK 27:40

L.A. Nik: And we’re back with Minneapolis 911 with my co-host Hessley Rey and we have David Koch in the house. You know, Ive got so many questions that I want to ask David and I don’t even know where to begin. So, South Beach ended, then you opened up Escape. Then Escape eventually ended in Block E. Then was Bella Note and Seven right after that? 

David Koch: No, I had Belle Note and Escape at the same time. When the timberwolves went to the western conference finals you couldn’t get into either place.

L.A. Nik: Well, I actually got into Bella Note twice right when I got here. It closed shortly after I got here. Denny Hecker got arrested and that was the end of that. But I did go to Bella Note twice and I thought it was an amazing place and I had a very good time there. And fit right in. And got a lot of attention there. It was a see and be seen place which you know I like.

Hessley Rey: Who exactly let you in?

(Nik laughing)

David Koch: The people he paid!

L.A. Nik: I didn’t pay nobody. They were just like, “Come on in rockstar” and that was that. But I had a really good time at Bella Note. That was my first week in town. Like it was only open my first week in town. And then Hecker went to jail.

David Koch: Yeah, but that’s not why it closed.

L.A. Nik: I know that. Why did it close?

David Koch: There were some people that Mr. Hecker got involved with who now have a number of other restaurants around town, who made it look a little bit like Bella Note. Using some designs that I created. I don’t know if they took them or if the architects sold them to them but none the less, he got involved with them. I think his financial woes had him kind of connect with these other guys because one of my other partners was also in the auto industry. In the online business. They had an online platform and [Denny] wanted to be a part of it and needed it so he figured maybe these guys would help him because he was really hurting for cash. I didn’t know it but he’d tell me. He was a very honest man when it came to me. So he’d say to me, “You think you’ve got problems? I’m big in foreign debt.”

L.A. Nik: So let me ask you this. Do you like Denny Hecker?

David Koch: You know, I can’t say that I do or I don’t. All I can say is that he has always been an extremely honest person with me when it comes to certain things. Then, he’s done other things that are really stupid like make people write bogus comments about things that were going on at Seven and he never even had any real ownership in Seven. That’s why he’s not involved.

Hessley Rey: So wait, was Hecker an investor in Bellanotte or how is he connected?

David Koch: He was. He bought out a number of the minority shareholders. He wanted to be a partner himself but he said, “First I want to clean up Bellanotte and get rid of these minor shareholders and be a part of it.”

L.A. Nik: Have you talked to Denny Hecker since he’s been in prison?

David Koch: No.

L.A. Nik: No contact at all?

David Koch: In the beginning he had called and he needed some help for his now ex wife number 2 or 3 or 4

L.A. Nik: I think its three. 

Hessley Rey: One of the Mrs. Heckers!

L.A. Nik: You know he’s actually getting out in the next six months.

David Koch: Yeah, well, thats what they say.

L.A. Nik: I heard it’s September.

David Koch: Well if he can stay off his phone. He does have a problem with that.

L.A. Nik: I heard he might be getting out in September.

Hessley Rey: Everybody hide your money. Hecker’s getting out in September!

L.A. Nik: Everybody knows that I was a staple at Seven.

David Koch: Was? (laughs)

L.A. Nik: Well, Seven’s my spot. I’m comfortable sitting at that spot that you built. 

David Koch: Um hmmm

L.A. Nik: Every time I say I’m gonna go somewhere else, I’m just comfortable at that spot. Sitting in that chair, at that bar with the people that you hired. 

Hessley Rey: It’s his Cheers.

L.A. Nik: They’re all still the same people.

Hessley Rey: Okay, but let’s get moving with what happened with Seven. I’m dying to know. I don’t even know like….you said there was a controversy. Get to it!

L.A. Nik: Relax! 

Hessley Rey: Okay, I was having a panic attack.

L.A. Nik: Put those things away and relax!

Hessley Rey: Put my boobs away and relax! Okay! I’m trying.

L.A. Nik: We’re gonna let David tell the story. I only was a customer there. I did see a lot because I sat in the same chair for five days a week.

Hessley Rey: He also had a glass that he would put against the door and listen to [David’s] private meetings.

L.A. Nik: I know a lot. I do know that I’ve always said when the shit hit the fan. I always told everybody. And nobody can ever say I didn’t say this. I always said, “Don’t underestimate David Koch. Cause he’ll pull something out of thin air.”

David Koch: Well, Nik. You’re a very bright man. That’s why I’ve always got along with you.

Hessley Rey: So magician David Koch pulling things out of thin air. Tell us what happened with Seven.

L.A. Nik: I want to know, How many shareholders were there at Seven with you. Who was who? What happened? Why did it go bad?

David Koch: There were nine shareholders and it really wasn’t going bad. 

L.A. Nik: Nine?

David Koch: Yes. Yep. Minor share holders. Each one owned a brick.

L.A. Nik: Was that including you?

David Koch: No.

L.A. Nik: So nine plus you?

David Koch: Yes.  My wife owned 72 percent of Seven after we re-organized in 2008 like many other business in downtown.  A lot of them left. I mean, major chains had to leave. Palomino, which is Crave now, is gone. You have Oceanaire that went bankrupt. You have McCormick and Schmick’s that went bankrupt. They were all bought by Laudry’s.

Hessley Rey: TGI Friday’s if you want to go with a regular restaurant!

David Koch: Red Lobster. Which was a Darden company which had great service. You had a lot of people that went under. One of the main steakhouses nationwide that went under that was in that little basement downtown Minneapolis. In Gaviidea. Morton’s.

L.A. Nik: Morton’s was good.

David Koch: Capitol Grill was purchased by Darden. There were a lot of changes in the hospitality industry.

Hessley Rey: So then? It bled onto Seven?

David Koch: We went and reorganized….

L.A. Nik: You weathered the storm for a long time.

David Koch: I can remember the judge, when we filed for re-organization, the judge saying, “What’s going on here? It’s like showing up to a fight but only one fighter showed up.” And that was me. Because everyone wanted me to continue on because they were doing very well. They’d always made a lot of money. I’d been in the business for 15 years and they knew that if we re-organized that they were going to come out ahead. And that is exactly what happened. We just blew up. And we were very successful. But, it got to a time when people wanted to be out and wanted to have Seven sold and we said, “Okay, its time for us.”  And we wanted to go on and do some other things as well and were looking at other places. And long story short once we got to that point, and we had it sold, to the people who actually own it now, which is quite amazing. That took place in May of 2016. In October of 2016 it was purchased by one of the main people that was looking to buy it back in May.

Hessley Rey: Can you say who that is?

David Koch:  Naaawww….

L.A. Nik: I can.

David Koch: I choose not too and I think you shouldn’t either Nik. Just for their sake. I don’t want to do anything that would be malicious to them at this point because there is a lot that is still going on and I may have to call them into the courtroom at one point. 

L.A. Nik: This is interesting to me, and David knows this, because I am close friends with everybody involved.

David Koch: As a matter of fact, Nik, you and I used to argue. You used to tell me, “Oh no. It’s just this one person.”

L.A. Nik: Ken

David Koch: Yeah, Ken, you’re talking about. “It’s Ken. Oh no its just Ken. It’s Ken” I was like, “No Nik, its not just Ken. Trust me!”

L.A. Nik: No. no but you were wrong at the time.

David Koch: No, I was right.

L.A. Nik: No you weren’t.

David Koch: Oh was I? Well then you better go down to the courthouse and get the depositions then brother. Cause I’m not wrong.

L.A. Nik: You were wrong at the time. I did not know the other party at the time.

David Koch: Oh, but you said  to me there was only one person involved.

L.A. Nik: Right. And that is all I knew who was involved.

David Koch: Well yeah, but what I used to tell you was, “Listen to me. I’m telling you brother.” And you go, “No no. I know.” And I’m like, “Nik, you don’t know. Trust me.”

L.A. Nik: But it was always tough for me because they were both always close friends. I consider them both close friends.

Hessley Rey: Ken and David Koch? And this third party who we are not mentioning. You also feel like you are friends with him?

L.A. Nik: Well yeah, but I didn’t know him at the time.

Hessley Rey: Okay, well I am having trouble keeping track of things. What happened?

L.A. Nik: Talk about the minority share holders.

David Koch: Okay, so we got done with the purchase agreement. It was signed. They’ve got a 45 day out. They went to dinner at Seven. Set up a room. Then, all the minority shareholders got together and were perched down below. I got there late. I told them, I couldn’t be there. And thy’re all walking past them and going in and bothering them and trying to have private meetings. And one of the shareholders took one of the guys who was involved in the purchase up into our Ultralounge and had an hour meeting with them and they were basically saying, “We can get this cheaper for you, you know. Tell them you can’t buy it.”

So, the next day I got a call and they said the bank wasn’t going to finance the deal. Which isn’t the truth. But none the less, I said, “Fine. Thank you very much,” and we went on our way.  And then, I couldn’t figure out why things were going out of control and why everything was costing so much money. Why they were not making sure labor was under control. Why they weren’t making sure that cost of goods wasn’t under control. We used to have some tough, tough days. And, the bottom line is, after figuring it out, they were just trying to run the business into the ground so they could get these guys to buy it.

Hessley Rey: So was this like a hostile takeover, sort of?

David Koch: Yeah, this happened on the East Coast too. Same story.  A guy went through the same thing. What they got was called a TRO Ex Parte (Temporary Restraining Order pending a formal hearing) and they used an attorney who had to leave….what’s the word I’m looking for. He could no longer be their legal person in this case because he had a serious conflict of interest. He represented one of the minority shareholders and one of the owners of Seven right now had a business that sold ATM machines and they did processing and two of them also used the same attorney that they used to get this TRO Ex Parte the day before we were going to take care of all these bills and get things done. And even some of these guys were going to be offered money to be bought out, which is what they wanted. I just said, “okay” and I followed the rules. And we never got our ten day hearing. And I don’t know why.

L.A. Nik: I would call it more ‘hijacking’ than hostile take over. 

David Koch: It was hostilely taken over, I would say.

L.A. Nik: The minority shareholders were hostile.

David Koch: The attorney was hostile.

Hessley Rey: We’ll be back with more 911 calls, more David Koch after the break. Keel listening cause it gets even better!

[BREAK: Time stamp 43:50]

L.A. Nik: And we’re back with Minneapolis 911. I’m L.A. Nik with my co-host Hessley Rey and we have David Koch in the studio. He’s still here! He didn’t run away.

David Koch: I never run from anything.

Hessley Rey: I want to thank David Koch for being on the show again. You’re in the middle of what sounds like a lot of legal proceeds and you’re taking a chance by coming out here and expressing your mind. Is there anything that you wanted to express as a part of this. Is there something dirty in the water in the Minneapolis business industry altogether. Like, you know, I want to know not only your take on the situation but how does it affects Minneapolis proper.

L.A. Nik: I want to know what you think about the $15 minimum wage thing in the restaurant business.

David Koch: Oh well, I think that will all work itself out. It will take time but at the end of the day you’re going to find people that really want to work for $25 to $30 an hour versus these guys that come in and highjack your tables and say that they are their call tables. I had to fight with my staff and tell them, “Get out from behind your screen” when they’d go to Open Table, which is your reservation system, and they’d put in, “Well, this is my table.” Well no, its not your table.  And that’s how they would get their sections bigger and more people to come in and they’d walk out sometimes with a couple thousand dollars.

Hessley Rey: Hmmm.. I’m in the wrong business.

David Koch: I wouldn’t want to make $15 an hour either if that was going to jeopardize what I was going to make at the end of the day.

Hessley Rey: Right. So back to your story then.

L.A. Nik: I wanted to ask David a couple questions. So, I have defended you a million times to people who know nothing about you. And you have done the same to me. People who don’t know you are the people who talk the loudest. People who talk shit about me have never met me. I get all that.

Hessley Rey: Except for me!

L.A. Nik: Right, except for you.

So a couple things I want to clear up. I have heard many times, when you were still running Seven, that you were doing drugs. And I’m like, “David doesn’t do drugs.”  And I’ve said that a million times. And so I want to hear your explanation cause people said, “I’ve seen him at Seven working on drugs.”  I’m like, “No you haven’t.”

(David laughs).

David Koch: Sorry. It’s funny.

L.A. Nik: Yeah, its funny. But I’ve told people my thoughts on it.

Hessley Rey: What kind of drugs? Because it its weed, I don’t really think that’s ‘drugs.”

L.A. Nik:: Well she’s a pot head so..

Hessley Rey: I’m not a pot head. Anyway, go ahead.

David Koch: Actually, I had a number of things that went wrong. I had surgery on my left knee. I’ve got a town rotator cuff in the left arm that I actually saw Dr. Buss who does all the Twins and Vikings. He said there was actually too much atrophy in the muscle to attach the tendon, or whatever it is, in the rotator portion of the shoulder. I have spinal stenosis of the spine. So stenosis means that as you grow older, your spine grows thinner. And all my vertebrates are just stacked on each other. And I have two broken vertebrates. Three herniated disks. Two bulging disks. And they’ve said, “There really isn’t much we can do for you. Until you get to the point where you are defecating or urinating on yourself, you just have to live with this.”

So, they had sent me to a pain clinic. And actually I didn’t like it because they’re taking about Prince dying because of Fentanyl. They had me on 100 mg of Fentanyl every other day. That’s as strong as you can get. That’s just part of it. They had Lyrica, Oxicodone, Oxycontin. They said, “This is how you gotta live.” I said, “You know what. I’d rather deal with the pain.”  And I stared getting shots over at Mayo clinic. And they did real good. The last shot didn’t go off too good because I had Pnenomonia a couple times in a row and I had the last shot in between that so it really kind of set the knee off. So no, doing drugs was there way of trying to make an excuse for me and what I had going on. That was just one of the ways in which they could make me look bad to the judge. They wrote these affidavits up which by the way she didn’t read. She admitted in court that they were too long. 120 pages. We did one guy. We deposed him and he went through his affidavit and said, “I didn’t even see half of this. I don’t know what this is.”  And he said he never saw the affidavit but yet he signed it. And then we have his deposition which is completely different than his affidavit.  Both of them, he’s screwed because he says all these things that I did but when it got down to it, he never saw me take any money, he never saw me do anything. Period. So, these people did a long of things that they shouldn’t have. You’ve got a lot of people who still need to be held responsible for what they did. There’s people who have been hired. There’s collusion. There’s corruption. There is, I think a judge who has a lot to be concerned about when it comes to this particular case because she didn’t read the affidavits yet she granted this TRO. 

She got, I think, caught up in the fact that this attorney was talking about how excited she was to see Sonia Sotomayor, who is a supreme court justice, and they sat and talked about that for probably 40 minutes. They whole time we were in court. And an hour and a half later she granted a TRO.

L.A. Nik: That’s typical of Minneapolis, right there. Start struck.

David Koch: Well, its just sad because I believe in reality she is a good judge. I know a really good person who  helped get her elected. But you have to pay attention to people’s lives. You can’t afford to let them get taken.

Hessley Rey: So, you’re still in the middle of appealing that decision or where are you with the courts?

David Koch: We have a counter suit. So they have to come back cause they wanted to withdraw everything. And I can’t do a counter suit unless I have something to counter. Its four or five months past the deadline for what they call, “The interrogatories.” The evidence of what I did wrong. Cause nothing. Not one thing has ever been turned in; Even when the judge granted this TRO, about me doing anything wrong.

Hessley Rey: What is the counter-suit?

David Koch: The counter-suit is going to simply just going to be going after these guys and saying, “You know what. You destroyed my life. You took everything away and you falsely accused me of doing things I didn’t do.” So, you know, you can’t do that. You can’t destroy peoples life. Have their business taken. Which happened. This receiver, who was appointed, by this corrupt attorney, he granted the sale of Seven four days after he got into it. Yet he’d never been into Seven.  The first time he was in seven was when he was on the rooftop this past spring when they re-did it. The first time. He’d never been in it before. So, you know, the thing about him that really bothers me is that I sit and listen to him talk about what he’s going to do yet he didn’t do any of it. They didn’t follow through. They hired a guy that wasn’t supposed to be involved, who used to work for me, and then they fired him. But yet, he got on the stand on the 28th and talked about what a wonderful young man he was and what a great job he did. He wrote up this 14 week, you know, [plan on] how much revenue we could generate. 

Hessley Rey: Projection?

David Koch: Yeah, the total of the sale. It’s just so mind-blowing that he would come up and do this. And then he took some money from the two gentlemen, in advance, and then came to us at the last minute and said, “Well if the plaintiff paid $300,000 and the defendants paid $300,000 we could get it back.” And then we’d have to come up with some additional money. Well, I had it all. But you took it away from me. So, I’ve got people that are ready to testify and show that we need to to show that they really screwed up. 

Hessley Rey: So, could you do a slander suit? Cause this is personal?

David Koch: That’s what it’s all about.

L.A. Nik: Do the minority shareholders have any money to take?

David Koch: Well, yeah I think they do. And I don’t think they realize what they did.

L.A. Nik: Cause I know a couple of them and it seems like they have a pot to piss in.

David Koch: Well, yeah, they do. You got the one gentleman that I was in business with who has a lot of ATM machines out there and he’s got plenty of cash.  And I’ve got some other people, who I grew up with, who really, really disappointed me. I mean actually broke my heart with what they did.

L.A. Nik: I’m talking about your minority shareholders.

David Koch: That’s who I’m talking about. They’re not poor. I’m the one that didn’t get any money. I’m the one who was working for free. They talk about these loans that we took out. They say that my wife and I took them and used them for ourselves. No we didn’t. We took them out and then we had to sign what’s called COJs. Confession of Judgement, which means everything came to us and the business didn’t get any of it. The receiver, still, he needs to pay some taxes that he didn’t. It’s a very, very sad situation the way this went down. I’ve talked to more very successful attorneys because of the business that we did at Seven. And they’ve said, I mean I’ve guys that have been in there 25, 24,18 [years] whatever. Everybody I’ve talked to have said, “We’ve never seen anything like this in our lives”

L.A. Nik: So, how much money do you think you’re out?

David Koch: Ohhh…millions. My NFL contract. Millions. I got the contract to be the NFL house for Seven and that would have been millions of dollars.

Hessley Rey: And I have to believe you had surveilance within Seven that could prove or disprove these alligations, right?

David Koch: Oh absolutely. Sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt. They stole a safe. They ripped out the cameras from what I understand. They had to re-fix them and re-do them. 

L.A. Nik: Yeah, after you left, they ripped all that shit out. The minority investors. Your minority investors took everything. 

David Koch: Yeah.

Hessley Rey: But I mean, prior to that change over, the things that they were accusing you of. Would they have surveilance?

David Koch: Well, I would. Cause I put it in there. I haven’t even been in there. I have no idea. All I’ve heard is that they have the cameras up and working.  

L.A. Nik: But you don’t have any old footage, though?

David Koch: No, I don’t have anything because I’m missing records. I’m supposed to do the tax returns. He’s been told, the receiver, five or six times, “You need to turn over all the bank accounts. you need to turn over all the stuff that does the accounting. You need to turn give everything to us so that the accountant can do the tax return.“  He’s giving nothing. 

Hessley Rey: So basically you got pushed out before you even knew what was going on?

David Koch: Absolutely. 

L.A. Nik: He got a restraining order from the building. Like Instantly. “You can’t come in here any more.” 

Hessley Rey: Okay, that makes more sense to me. Cause I was thinking, well, you should be able to prove your case. But you don’t have anything because you got pushed out before you even knew they were backstabbing you. 

David Koch: Yeah. And you know, this so called, footage. To see it. It would be impossible because there was nothing to see. Know what I’m saying?

Hessley Rey: Well, that’s what I mean.

L.A. Nik: So if we cut Seven out of the picture completely. What is the future for David Koch?

David Koch:  Well, you gotta wait and see. 

L.A. Nik: Cause I know there’s a future. I always tell everybody, “Don’t underestimate the man. Ever.”  I’ve told everyone with Seven. “Don’t ever underestimate David Koch.”

David Koch: Uh huh.

Hessley Rey: Well, David, thank you again for being on the show. We really appreciate it. Especially during this time. We hope you’ll come back as things progress throughout your case so that we can keep tabs on it with you.

L.A. Nik: I want to hear about the new thing that’s coming. 

Hessley Rey: Your openness is pretty inspiring. So, thank you again for being here. We will be back with 911 calls and more of our show and this is Hessley Rey with L.A. Nik with David Koch on

To listen to more Minneapolis 911 go to

L.A. Nik is the host of Minneapolis911 which is a podcast on the Tom Barnard Network. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Seven Steak and Sushi Gets Sold.

Seven Steak and Sushi Gets Sold. 

In my opinion, the minority share holders of the downtown destination spot Seven Steak and Sushi pretty much shot themselves in the head by pushing out the founding family of Seven. After eight years of pouring love, blood, sweat and a ton of cash into Seven, David Koch was forced out by minority share holders with a court ordered restraining order. Soon after a court ordered receiver was put into place to do whats deemed best for Seven.

 I was personally at multiple court hearings and attorney meetings and I must say it was heart breaking. I felt my own heart hurt watching Seven get high-jacked from the family who did whatever possible to keep the doors open. 

When all the dust of the fight settled the court appointed receiver looked at who in Minneapolis could pay off the $1.6 million dollar debt, some that had be accumulated from the past, and some from after the Koch family had been forced out, mutual parties came forth. In the end, Ken Sherman , owner of the Lumber Exchange and investor Ro Shirole came up with the cash.

As personal friends of the Koch family and of Ken Sherman it's been a heart tugging time just because I think the world of them both. I'm heartbroken for David and his family but glad that Ken Sherman ended up with it. Out of all parties who were in line to take over I believe Ken and Ro will do the best for Seven. 

I can only hope that Ken Sherman and Ro Shirole, the new owners and management of Seven , will keep in mind and celebrate how much the Koch family sacrificed on behalf of Seven.  I know that they will continue the hospitality upon which the Koch family built the business. You never know, you may even see some of the Kotch family back at Seven. I know I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, November 11, 2016

New restaurant McKinney Roe in east downtown (East Town) Minneapolis

No plans for a Friday night meant time to check out East Town's newest restaurant, McKinney Roe. I've lived in East Town for the past five years and it has been a food and drink desert the entire time. The closest bars / restaurants to my condo up until this point were Dan Kelly's, Crooked Pint and the Hyatt Place hotel bar, god forbid.  McKinney Roe is the first bar and restaurant to put down roots east of third avenue and commit to a really great menu and atmosphere.

Gotta say. Pretty damn impressed. I just caught happy hour and I was able to try these amazing chicken skewers that were the equivalent of friggin' fried, Krispy Cream doughnuts.  Next up, the Big Stag burger; Perfectly cooked on a pretzel bun with a side of fries (served in their wire frying basket, no less). Everything was served up by some really excellent servers and bar tenders including, Andie, the manager on duty who made a point to check on everyone.

The Big Stag Burger at McKinney Roe in East Town Minneapolis.

One thing that makes or breaks a bar for me is the seat to bar height ratio. I like my bar seat to be a certain height and my bar to be a certain height. And I don't want to have to lean forward an entire foot over a bar rail to reach my food. This place got the bar stool to bar height ratio perfectly. It may be one of the only places in town, next to Seven, to do so.

The place had a really quality build out done. Four million bucks got them some pretty well done lighting and seating layouts, a carved rosewood bar and a sweet spiral staircase that leads up to a wine vault with a glass floor.

We took the skyway home, because we finally could, via the new Wells Fargo building on Fourth Street and Portland Avenue and we came across a really cool little hidden gem. On the skyway level, Wells Fargo wallpapered ten foot by twenty foot aerial images of Minneapolis from the 1800s, the twenties, the thirties and the fifties. We spent fifteen minutes locating our own condo and every other landmark in Minneapolis.

Aerial view of Minneapolis, Minnesota in the 1950's

My advise; Get to know the booming East Town. Venture out of the North Loop in a $5 Uber and check out McKinny Roe.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Star Tribune Story about L.A. Nik

(Story originally written and published by Tom Horgan for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Read it on their website by clicking HERE.)

Nightlife: L.A. Nik at night

An L.A. transplant with a rocker attitude and a taste for black nail polish has become an unlikely champion of downtown’s bar scene.

Downtown Minneapolis after dark can sometimes seem like another world. Touring it with L.A. Nik is like encountering another universe.
I spent one night with this self-appointed ultimate scenester, an outing that included a shirtless woman running down 10th Street, a backroom drag battle and a kissing horse.
L.A. Nik just seems to attract the wild side of the nightlife scene. Nik (as I'll call him) might be the most famous bar-goer in downtown. Actually, he insists -- he is the most famous person in downtown. Mayor R.T. who?
Nik, 46, looks like he stepped out of a Mötley Crüe video, circa 1985. Morning, noon and night he's clad in all-black, right down to his fingernail polish. The silver skull necklaces draped around his neck complete his character. Think Keith Richards crossed with illusionist Criss Angel (he'll kill me for saying that -- the Criss Angel part, at least).
Nik landed in Minnesota two years ago like a marooned astronaut. He adapted to his new surroundings by turning downtown into his kingdom. For him, Minneapolis is free of Tinseltown's pretension yet filled with undiscovered gems. He loves downtown. For the most part, it loves him. Here, he acts like a goodwill ambassador, shaking hands and talking up the area's restaurants as if he's the Aging Rocker Delegate to the Downtown Council.
"I'm like a politician, man," he'll say.
Minnesotans sometimes treat Nik like a zoo animal, taking photos of him with their cellphones. So for the past two months, he's been promoting a photo contest on his website: "Take a Pic With L.A. Nik." Snap a shot with him, send it in and the best one will win $1,000 (deadline is Wednesday). The purpose, he says, is to get people to come downtown.
"I eat, play and stay in downtown," Nik said (he lives in Loring Park, but formerly lived for 13 months in the Hotel Minneapolis).
Nik is so sure of downtown's greatness, he told me he will act as a personal tour guide to anyone who asks.
So I asked him. And he showed me his downtown.
Drag queens and cops
It was a brisk Saturday night. We began at Zelo, the swank Italian restaurant favored by junior executives. Nik was the only person with a giant skull belt buckle. Drinks seem to find their way into his hands. "We like colorful people," a manager told me.
Next was Wondrous Azian Kitchen, where owner Thom Pham told me Nik is "the craziest person I've ever met" (this coming from Thom Pham). The two are reviving "The Gong Show" at Pham's bar every Sunday night. Later, we went to Seven and Lure, where Nik easily struck up conversations with strangers (mostly women). Missing by his side this night was his girlfriend Nancy Kuehn, a photographer for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. He talks about her incessantly.
Back on the street, we ran into one of Nik's friends, who took us into the new Cowles Center. We were thrown into a rowdy, packed room where an all-black drag-queen contest was in full swing. It was like a scene out of the movie "Paris Is Burning." The crowd was electric with tall men in bright, skin-tight outfits. We slipped out after about 15 minutes.
"I'll try anything once!" Nik said.
'Charlie Sheen' problems
Despite his nickname, Nik grew up Nickolas Pilotta in Delaware.
"I've been called every name in the book, but I knew who I was going to be by the ninth grade," he said.
He moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s, where he drummed in bands but never found stardom. Still, he lived the life. He opened a club, hung out with famous comedians and befriended hair-metal gods. I asked him if he did a lot of coke.
"Absolutely," he said. "I was like Charlie Sheen. People were just throwing me 8-balls."
Fast-forward to 2009: Nik was clean of drugs and working several angles, one of which brought him to the Twin Cities. He designed a mall kiosk called "Go Hollywood Live," which allowed customers to record audition tapes for movies and TV shows. It lasted for eight months at the Mall of America. But he was here to stay.
Saving downtown from itself
During our late-night adventure, two police officers flagged down Nik on the street. Turns out: cops love him.
"Nik, how you doing!" one shouted.
Nik has a mischievous look to him, but he thinks of himself as a downtown steward, a Downtown Improvement District officer without the uniform. He's concerned about recent incidents of teenagers fighting on Nicollet Mall.
"That needs to be nipped in the bud real quick," he told the two cops. "That'll scare people from coming downtown."
Not everyone is charmed by Nik. Some people think he's full of B.S. (which is how one downtown player put it).
Nik says he's an entrepreneur. He's famous for his "Favorite People" parties at Hell's Kitchen. Right now, he's working on his own energy drink and opening a club in downtown. On his website,, he calls himself a "professional entertainment personality."
In September, Nik co-hosted the red carpet at the Ivey Awards with Fox 9's Todd Walker, another man about town.
"I got the feeling he's created a character and now he's selling it to Minneapolis," Walker said. "But I'm not sure anyone is buying it."
Well past midnight, an intoxicated woman came streaking toward us as we walked down 10th Street. Nik, concerned for her dignity, pleaded with the woman to put her shirt back on. We escaped the bizarre episode once the woman's boyfriend arrived.
The last stop of the night was the W Hotel. Its 27th-floor bar, Prohibition, is home to Nik's favorite bartender.
Outside, I learn he has a favorite horse, too. As we crossed the street in front of the Foshay Tower, a carriage approached.
"Oh, this is my guy," Nik said. It was unclear if he was referring to the driver or the half-ton steed. Nik went straight to the horse, stroking its belly and resting his cheek against the steed's furry hide.
"What's up, buddy," he said, massaging the horse. "I got your spot -- right there."
The beast swung its giant head around to greet Nik in the face. "I got your spot," Nik repeated as he looked into the creature's dark eyes.
Yes, even animals love L.A. Nik.
(Story by Tom Horgan, Reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune)
(Listen to L.A. Nik’s podcast Minneapolis 911 on the Tom Barnard Network by clicking HERE.)