Owner defends nightclub against police claim of 'chronic nuisance'

SEATTLE -- A Pioneer Square night club is in the hot seat.

It's popular with its clientele, but police say it's a magnet for crime.

A letter from the acting police chief warns if the club doesn't change, Seattle police will shut it down

Volume Seattle, owned by Matthew Chu, is packed when it's open for business. But Seattle police insist the club is also a nuisance.

Seattle police say since the beginning of the year officers responded to 144 calls made to its dispatch center from Volume.

"That is an excessive amount of our resources devoted to one specific place when we have a duty to keep the peace city-wide," said Seattle police Det. Jeff Kappel, who calls Volume it a "chronic nuisance property."

A letter to the owner from police cites assaults, fights in and out of the club, security issues and underage drinking.

And on New Year's Day, a woman was robbed on the dance floor and insisted club security refused to help her.

In another incident, officers used pepper spray for crowd control.

"They're not only making an environment where crime is OK and permissible but in some cases making it a friendly environment for crime, so that's unacceptable," Kappel said.

"The majority of issues I see on that paper are not Volume-specific problems," Chu said.

Chu said he was blindsided by the portrayal and the harsh warning.

"We have no citations and that's why we were kind of shocked at this whole thing because if we did have underage drinking the liquor board would come to us and say you were caught underage drinking," Chu said.

Chu points out it's a dramatic turn-around from two years ago when Volume was the first nightclub to work with the police to toughen its safety standards as part of Seattle's Nightlife Initiative.

"If the city attorney says 'you're a real nuisance to society' then I'll say 'ok, if you can point out that we are worse than anybody else then I'll close it down,' I don't have a problem with that," Chu said.

Chu said he'll meet with the city to resolve this. If the city is not satisfied the club could be shut down and the owner could face a fine of up to $25,000.