Club 7 owner sentenced
Aleksander Mkhitarian had five years of probation added to the three years he was already serving after a 2008 raid that shut down his Downtown club. (Recall that the raid also reignited then-Mayor Martin Chavez’ fervor to ban the sale of alcohol at all-ages venues.)
His first round of probation was punishment for fire code violations. The second comes from six felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was indicted on 36 counts relating to child abuse but pled guilty to six earlier this month. The other 30 were dropped.
Judge Albert “Pat” Murdoch took into account Mkhitarian’s completion of a bachelor’s degree and ambition to go to graduate school, according to a news release from the District Attorney’s Office. But the judge also said Mkhitarian “profited from an intolerable situation.” Investigators reported almost 300 people under 18 present at the raid, and about 600 patrons total. Prosecutors said he created a dangerous environment and invited children.
As part of his plea, Mkhitarian said he would tell the whole story of Club 7 and give information on fellow defendants Michael Aragon and Joel Rodriguez. If he violates his probation—two years of which are supervised—he’ll be returned to court and will likely face jail time. He has not served any time in jail yet.
The Daily Lobo covered Mkhitarian’s start when in 2003 he opened the Colosseum as a 23-year-old UNM student. He’d created the business plan for the million-dollar club when he was 17.