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Diamonds owners, landlord settle dispute, agree to new five-year lease

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Diamonds Gentleman's Club general manager Michael St. Peter (left) and landlord Tom Brann talk with the BDN at the adult entertainment club Wednesday afternoon, June 6, 2012. Diamonds Gentleman's Club owners have reached an agreement regarding their lease with the Branns.
By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — After three weeks of quiet negotiations, all the bills have been paid, good feelings have been restored, and the owners of Diamonds Gentleman’s Club and their landlords have agreed to a new, five-year lease.

“It’s a big relief. It’s over and everybody’s happy, and now everyone can move on and get back to business,” said Michael St. Peter, Diamonds general manager.

Arayos LLC, Diamonds’ ownership group, has been involved in a dispute with landlords Tom Brann and his sons Patrick Brann and Matthew Brann over nonpayment of rent and a contention that the Branns were responsible for part of the renovation cost incurred to bring the club space up to code.

We had a disagreement relative to several terms in the lease and couldn’t come to terms without the assistance of the courts,” said Tom Brann. “Now we’ve redrafted the lease to eliminate all the confusion there and other than that, the lease hasn’t really changed much — conditions at least from our standpoint are still the same — and so that’s all history and we hope to continue on for the next 20 years.”

The club, located beside and behind Diversified Ink Tattoo Studio at 190 Harlow St., features a bar, a DJ and scantily clad female dancers.

All back rent — which the Branns successfully sued for, and were awarded $35,466 at Penobscot Judicial Center last month — has been paid and the lease agreement has been revised.

“We agreed on which portion of the renovations were Arayos’ responsibilities and which were ours,” said Brann. “We basically simplified the lease with a monthly rental rate for the space, and they’re responsible for variable utilities like electricity, heat, and air conditioning.

“We picked up sewer and water up to a certain point along with trash disposal, so we can consolidate that with the building’s other businesses and use one big dumpster out back.”

St. Peter, fellow manager Randy Stone, and bar manager Brittany LeVasseur all said they are relieved to have the legal dispute behind them.

“All I know is we have a new lease for five years with an option to renew, and everybody’s happy. Everything carries on as normal regarding our business,” said St. Peter. “The dispute probably concerned everyone … but it never affected our business operations.”

Business has been fairly brisk for the club, even during the last few weeks while club officials and the Branns wrangled in and out of court.

“One of the things [Diamonds consultant and now minority owner] Jimmie Ellis said to us when we opened was he wanted this place to be like a nightclub where people have a good time, and there just happen to be semi-nude, beautiful women dancing around,” said Stone. “Other than not having a dance floor, that’s almost exactly what the clientele gets.

“People tell us the music is better than a lot of other clubs they go to. This just happens to be a gentlemen’s club as well.”

Brann said the new lease took effect on June 1 and runs for five years. Arayos, which opened the club Feb. 22, has an option to extend it for three years in the final six months of the five-year lease and can continue to do so for a 20-year period.

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