Saturday, March 22, 2008
If you do a search on Paris Hilton, one result that comes up is a reference to something called "Club Paris." What that is -- or was -- or kind of is, I guess, is a set of nightclubs, the first of which opened in Orlando in 2004 and then in Jacksonville and just around the time that city was hosting the Super Bowl.
But then both closed in 2007. Why?
Well from my peering around, it seems that Club Paris' death was due to a disagreement between a club entrepreneur named Fereidoun "Fred" Khalilian and Paris Hilton. Reportedly, Hilton was paid seven-figures for Fereidoun "Fred" Khalilian to gain the right to place her name on what was to be a string of night clubs starting in -- of all places -- Orlando. (The photo shows Paris and Fred in happier times.)
I mean, nice try there, but let's face it, Orlando's not the first city anyone associates with Paris Hilton or nightlife. I guess catching the resort / Disney World crowd was the idea, but then why not try to negotiate with the Disney people? Oh well.
The first Club Paris opened in Orlando in 2004, but I can tell from the press release (see the link before this sentence) that there would be trouble simply because even though Paris is mentioned extensively, there's no -- not one direct quote from her. There's one from her lawyer, but not her.
So it's no wonder Hilton failed to show up on time for the grand opening. For that, Paris said she was "skiing in the Swiss Alps and got caught at the airport with holiday travel." A reasonable excuse in my view, but then I'm a Paris Hilton fan. (Why? Because she has a head for business -- she's an entrepreneur and a great one at that. She's not living off family money and has done well making her own cash, yet is not recognized for that, which is a total shame.)
That behavior and subsequent episodes where Hilton did not show up to planned Club Paris events was the straw that broke the camels back for Fereidoun "Fred" Khalilian. Accord to an agreement contract, Hilton was to come to the club twice a month..
Look out Orlando , the 2005 New Year’s Eve Party to attend is the grand opening of "Club Paris," the first of a handful of clubs worldwide to be named after socialite Paris Hilton.
Seems like Paris Hilton knows something about nightclubs, so it makes sense the hotel heiress is the latest inspiration for a series of clubs that will bear her signature name.
Club Paris, named after "The Simple Life" star, plans to open on New Year’s Eve in Orlando. Local businessman Fereidoun "Fred" Khalilian hopes to open other Club Paris nightclubs locations include Las Vegas, New York City, Miami Beach, London and Paris.
Rumors leaked stated that Hilton will earn a "seven-figure" signing bonus for lending her name to the club. In return, she is contractually obligated to appear at the club at least twice a month. Hilton also helped select the interior design and is scheduled to attend the opening.
It opened and lasted for one year, then closed. Some point to the fallout between Paris and "Fred" as the reason for the closure, but I think it was more than that. The Club has a $20,000 back-rent debt and Consolidated Investment and Capital Corp., which loaned the money to Club Paris LLC to acquire the liquor licenses, is still owed $526,240.65 on a liguor license that was up for sale in February of this year.
On top of all that, Fred was arrested twice -- once for sexual assault, then for an old warrant of assault on a law enforcement official. The details aside, its clear that Fred's pissed off a number of women in that area, as more than one have complained of his boorish behavior. In fact, the anger is such that someone made a MySpace page devoted just to his sexual assault problems.
But it seems that the rape charges were indeed questionable. Khalilian was released from jail after two witnesses, a a guard and a cab driver cast doubt on a rape allegation, according to his lawyer, Mark NeJame. The Florida attorney's website reports that "Both men said the woman appeared happy and content after spending 70 minutes in the nightclub owner's home. And a text message she sent afterward to Khalilian's cell phone asked him to send her some clothing and thanked him, NeJame said.
Khalilian was required while on bail to wear a GPS tracking device, abstain from drinking alcohol, and stay out of his nightclub between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., NeJame said.
Whatever the case, it's clear someone does not like Khalilian.
Meanwhile, Paris presses on.
A year after her celebrated DUI problems, the heirress still finds herself near the top of Internet searches and was the star attraction in South Africa recently for the My Coke Fest Rock Festival. Also, her singing album, started with Scott Storch, who Paris met through Khalilian, is still available.