Suit over Derek and Daniel Koch’s MPD Rages, Statement and Scoop From the Brothers Inside

In an industry with so many moving parts, lawsuits are not that common. Most serious players have someone who handles the minor stuff that could easily turn more major, like a trip and fall on a wet floor or a promise that was less than kept. With literally thousands of people getting wasted every night or week, actual litigation is rare. On the business deal side of things court room drama is also not the norm. Despite the enormous investments, convoluted partnerships, and massive egos, most disputes are settled around a dinner table rather than in court. Publicity of such actions and subsequent exposure of well-kept secrets keep it simple. Nightlife is a great deal of smoke and mirrors and most of the players are like the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz…not all that much when they come out from behind the self-created curtain. That curtain hides the trysts, the binges, the unusual predilections, shady business, and sometimes bad habits of the creatures of the night. A lawsuit can shatter the image and the brand that a player has spent years establishing.

I was shocked and awed by an email I received from the Dual Groupe that had my pals Derek and Daniel Koch announcing a lawsuit over MPD, their restaurant that I enjoyed so much. I guess the word "their" in the last sentence is at the heart of the matter. Here is the email, followed by a little Q & A with Derek Koch. I must put in my very biased two cents: I have found Derek and Daniel to be men of their words, something I hold in high regard. It is inconceivable to me that anyone could find fault in their actions. I went to MPD sometimes and was involved in an event there, but only because they were the people I was dealing with. What is Rick’s Cafè Amèricain in Casablanca without Rick, The Electric Room without Nur, Avenue without Noah, The Darby without Scott and Richie. Clubs , restaurants, and bars are usually ex-warehouses, garages, or even slaughterhouses. It is the personalities of the operators that animates these spaces into fabulousness. MPD, for
 me, was Derek and Daniel Koch. They were the reason to be cheerful there.
 
The email:
To Our Beloved MPD Family and Clients:
It is with great sorrow that we announce that on February 6th, 2012, we found it necessary to file two (2) New York Supreme Court Lawsuits, (Supreme Court of the City of New York, New York County: Index Number 150169/12 and 150170/12) and on February 9, 2012, a United States District Court Lawsuit (for the Southern District of New York: Index Number 12 Civ 1031), for past monies due and owing, and to prevent the wrongful parties from continuing to use the “MPD” name and likeness, a Trademark that is owned by Dual Groupe, LLC (“Dual”).
 
We have worked diligently and with great pride in developing and building the name and brand “MPD” for more than 2 years, and were very successful.  The wrongful parties, Gans-Mex, LLC (“Gans”), and Ginza Project, LLC (“Ginza”), have refused to comply with our “cease and desist” letter dated February 3, 2012, in which we asked them to stop using our Trademarked name “MPD”, and they have unilaterally caused Dual Groupe and the “MPD” name and brand to be irrevocably harmed. We tried to resolve these most serious issues without going to court, but Gans and Ginza have refused and neglected to have any meaningful conversations.
 
Dual worked hard at developing MPD into an enormous success, and subsequently was awarded a recommendation from Michelin, the oldest and best-known European hotel and restaurant guide. Ginza Project, the current leaseholders of 73 Gansevoort, has illegally and unlawfully operated the restaurant under the Trademark MPD, which we created, developed, and built over the past 2 years. We have sought the court’s assistance to right this terrible wrong that was thrust upon us by Gans and Ginza, but it is unlikely that they will comply with the terms and conditions of our contract and our federally filed and registered Trademark.
 
Building the MPD name, brand, and Trademark has been a labor of love for us and we will fight diligently to retain same.  While we have enjoyed our time at 73 Gansevoort, Gans-Mex, LLC and Ginza Project, LLC have made it impossible for us to operate our restaurant, MPD, at that location at this time.  We will announce in the near future a new venue, where we hope to continue the laughs and make new memories together with our family, you.
To be the very first to hear about MPD at its new location, write us at: info@dualgroupe.com
 
Ciao for now and we are certain to see you soon!
The MPD Family and Dual Groupe
Q & A with Derek Koch
 
I know you are in the middle of a suit over MPD and can only say so much. Tell my readers what you can.
We sent the defendants a cease-and-desist letter to prevent them from using our legally trademarked name “MPD." MPD is a brand and concept that Dual Groupe conceived and developed without any input or support from the defendants, and the defendants are now trying to capitalize and “steal” our brand and trademark. We filed suit in New York federal court to stop the defendants from illegally using our trademarked name. We estimate our damages to be in excess of $1,000,000. Additionally, we have commenced actions to recover the monies we invested in opening the venue, as well as the monies they owe us under our management agreement.
 
What are you working on ? How is Day and Night doing?
We are currently working to open a new restaurant, garden, and wine bar concept in Chelsea. This will be a repositioning of an iconic property. We are excited about the location and will officially announce it this week or next. D&N is stronger than ever.  The brunch is presently held every Saturday afternoon at the former Buddha Bar spot. We are fortunate to have solid partners involved. We are looking forward to celebrating our 30th birthdays there on March 31st – should be a good one!
 
Most promoters/owners would love to expand their brands but tell me they can’t without cloning themselves. You have a twin (Daniel) and therefore should be ahead of the pack. What are the advantages and disadvantages of working with your twin?
The biggest advantage is trust. We look after each other’s best interest. There is usually no tit-for-tat. We both pick up the slack wherever and whenever it’s needed.   The disadvantage are our brotherly office disagreements… they can be a little disruptive – hehe. One of the smarter things we did is partner with a non-family member. He not only serves as a partner, mentor, and dear friend, but his involvement truly helps to balance out our sibling rivalry by serving to be a great tie-breaker.
 
Is your crowd immune to swings in the economy?
I believe our clients are no different than many in America who are affected by swings in the economy. Sometimes it is a true economic change in our client’s financial situation and sometimes it is their sensitivity to being compassionate to those that have less, and in that capacity they choose to not flaunt their wealth. We know firsthand that they always feel the ups and down one way or another.
 
A couple of years ago I declared that you and Daniel were "the next big things," even though I thought that was old news at the time. What have you done to prove me right and who do you see as the next big thing?
We appreciate the compliment; thank you, Steve. We continue to strive and work toward keeping your prophecy true. One thing we hope we have shown you is staying power in brand creation. Day & Night is in its fourth year of business… outlasting many a skeptic and is stronger than ever. In this business, we both would agree it is a marathon, not a sprint, and therefore we work hard every day, hone our skills, and make the client experience the best it can be. We were fortunate to have partnered with someone who believes in us completely. Day & Night was a spring board toward changing the way people perceived brunch and, together with a few others, revolutionized the day club business. We were fortunate to have started out with a bang and have kept the momentum going ever since. We have to keep up the energy with new trends and concepts to keep it fresh and exciting for our current and future clients and partners. We also have an amazing team at the
office to whom we are eternally grateful who also help generate the excitement around our brands.
 
Who do you see as the next big thing?
Cristina Civetta (Events), David Berrie (DJ), Oli Evans (Promoter), Romain Pavee (Nightclub Host), Pavan Pardasani (Marketing), Adam Alpert (Talent Agent), Micha Jesse (TV Host), Jon Neidich (Restaurant Owner), Philippe Bondon (Maitre ‘D), Eric Marx (Operator), The Chainsmokers (DJ’s), Nima Yamini (Artist Management), Mick Boogie (DJ), Jonny Lennon (Entertainer), Tim Sheldon (Door), Roberto Buchelli (Operator).

Dual Groupe Split Up – Day & Night Goes On

I hear it all the time. Nightlife people say, “It’s all about relationships,” almost as often as they say, “It’s all about service.” But “relationships” is a broad term. It’s relationships with customers, staff, celebrities, P.R. firms, promotional entities, cops, robbers and relationships with lots of broads, models and other beauties. In an era where night life spaces—faced with increasing overhead— are open on more nights, and often days, it is important to have partners you can depend on. The modern nightlife entity must expand or franchise it’s brand elsewhere, like another space or city or even country. It is increasingly important to partner with like minded individuals. The successful groups like Tao, Strategic, Butter, The OneGroup, and Emm have multiple players with a common purpose.

A minute back I congratulated Dual Groupe partners Daniel and Derek Koch for their continued success and the seasonal opening of Day & Night. But I got a note from them saying they were no longer involved with Day & Night or Dual Group—they are working on something new. But as they say in showbiz “the show must go on,” and so it does. For me, the brand Dual Groupe referred to Daniel and Derek, the twin brothers, the two or duo. I got confused and I got in touch with Michael Weinstein, a Dual Groupe partner, to find out how this happened and what will happen now. Lawyers are way deep in this, so answers were expectedly guarded.

I myself was confused by the “tiff.” I assumed that Dual Groupe referred to the two, the duo that are the Koch twins. Has the public been confused? Does the public care?  
Dual Groupe started as a collaboration with Derek & Daniel, but the Day & Night brand has continued to grow without their input. The public is only interested in a quality experience, they know that they will continue to enjoy the best brunch party out there. We not only have an amazing venue in Highline Ballroom, but continue to present the biggest DJ’s and the highest energy team.

The Highline Ballroom brunch is a hit. People are going, spending money, having fun but eventually, Derek and Daniel will start a rival brunch. How will this affect you?  
We aren’t concerned. We just celebrated our 5th anniversary and the crowds consistently prove to be non-plussed by any outside noise. They are only interested in the product, not by drama. Our task is to provide that experience. Our partners at the Highline Ballroom have really turned up the offering with an amazing new sound and light system. There is nothing like it in the city. We are also looking forward to taking the show on the road; we have some exciting plans for Art Basel Miami Beach at the Ritz Carlton, St Barths for the holidays, and the Sundance Film Festival.

I’m sure that Derek and Daniel will come up with something creative, it just won’t be Day & Night.

Can you talk to the reasons why the Groupe broke up? 
Without getting into specifics because of pending litigation, I will say that there were differences of opinions as to the direction of what we do. It’s no different than any business arrangement. Sometimes people don’t agree, but how they react that makes all the difference. Sometimes things are said and done that change relationships irrevocably.

How has brunch changed nightlife?   
We truly have created a new category that many have tried to duplicate throughout the country. Restaurants from NYC to Miami to LA all offer an alternative to what we do, but none come close to what we offer. We are the archetype for this category.

Who are the faces now of Dual Groupe and what are their backgrounds?  
We have a great team. My partner Andreas Huber and I have partnered with Tsion Bensusan at Highline Ballroom. Our hosts for the brunch are Phillipe Bondon and Olivier Lubrano, both of whom have a wealth of hospitality experience. They couldn’t be more debonair or charming.

Skydiving And Rosé Delivered By Parachute: Day & Night Lands At Gurney’s Inn

There are four times this summer when several very peculiar things are happening in the Hamptons. Things like "having your chilled Dom Perignon rosé parachute-delivered 13,500ft by a skydiver," or "eating French toast bites alongside Angus beef sliders and lobster rolls." Sounds familiar? Then perhaps you’ve been to Day & Night in NY the Koch brothers’ sparkler and DJ-filled brunch party – and perhaps you’ll be very happy to hear: it’s taking over Montauk for the third year in a row. 

And while its fun munching on crispy calamari,  shrimp cocktails, and fresh oysters – it’s even better when you’re sitting beside the very place it all came from: the Atlantic Ocean, since the party’s set at Montauk’s oceanfront, homey hotel Gurney’s Inn, which has been around since 1926. Yes, when there were flappers. 

Day & Night is only happening Memorial Day weekend, July 4th, August 3rd, and Labor Day – so you’ve got to email party@dayandnightlife.com quick to get your seat by the water.

Get the inside-info on Day & Night, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here