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).

Tiana Reeves Makes ‘Money,’ Heads To London, & Talks About Sex

Tiana Reeves a fixture on the NYC scene, an imp, a problem child, has been missing. As it turns out (and we all know she can turn it out), she has been spending her time back and forth between London and Toronto. Our world has been a little darker, a little quieter, a bit boring, and definitely bland since she has been gone. Now she comes at us again with a track, a single, a song… "Money (That’s What I Want)," written by Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford. It was Motown’s first hit, and later was covered by many others including The Beatles and The Flying Lizards.

Tiana’s take on it is available on iTunes and it’s very good. As I listened to it last night, my house of snarky snarks commented that it was good and attributed its wonderfulness to all sorts of fabulous others before I told them it was Tiana. Tiana is, of course, fabulous and unconventional and her track reflects a thorough understanding of the meaning of "Money". I chatted with her last night.

You are spending your time between London and Toronto. Why these places… and why not much here?
Well, I’ve been in NYC for 20 years, and as much as I always will love NYC and all my friends there, I feel like i need to move on to something different. I am not the kind of person that could live in one city for the rest of their lives…..but that’s just me! I know I will go back to NYC to visit, but living in NYC that part of my life is done.

What was it like working with the amazing Amy Sacco?
Amy and I had a great relationship ….we where friends, and even tho our friendship was odd to some people, we always got each other even if people on the outside never really got the whole dynamic of it. We made it work! My time spent at Bungalow was amazing …many memories of celebrities and fun nights were left behind when the doors where closed….

You are a transexual who is found more often in the straight(er) parties and clubs. How did you find acceptance, and how do you deal with the fools who dont get it?
Well, my primary audience in Toronto is definitely gay (I love the gays), but yes, in NYC and London it is definitely more straight, and usually I am very well accepted… but for the few douche bags that don’t get it, I usually tell them to get with the fucking program. It’s 2013. Get with it, honey! for the few fools that don’t get it after that ,well…….let’s just say, they will never forget me.

Is Toronto accepting of you?
Yes, very much so! I feel that Canada is very accepting of transexuals and is very, very gay friendly and sooooo forward in their thinking, with laws toward acceptance in all aspects of gay life! Of course ,you do have this side of Toronto that is a bit backwards and set in their ways, but I always find a way to make them like me 😉

How vibrant is the scene in London?
The scene in London is very vibrant but its unlike any other …but i suppose every city has a different scene ,but London has all these nights and events that are hidden in so many nooks and crannies and also you do have to be part of the IN crowd to really experience the best of London’s night scene!

How do you use your sexuality to earn a living and get what you want? Is it easy to attract the moths to your candle?
Well being a transexual for soooo many years means that sexuality and appeal has always been a very big part of my life.  It’s helped me in getting what I want and, especially now, when getting into the music industry, your appeal is everything. So I guess all prior experiences were a crash course in what was to come!

You covered "Money." Tell me about this musical foray and why you chose that particular song? You aren’t by any means a Fying Lizard.
Well, I always loved that song, so when Ruben, my producer, asked me what I wanted to do as a musical track and genre, I said, "How about doing a remake of this song ?" and he replied with a lot of enthusiasm and was instrumental in pushing me to do this song and be confident about it. 

Also, I think that society is finally ready to see transexuals involved in the music industry. I, for one, am so ready to be part of it and am very happy to see that my single "MONEY (That’s What I Want)" is taking off so fast and has so many positive reviews! Hey, it’s finally available on iTunes and Amazon ….who knew!?

What is wrong with NY? What is right about NY?
For me, I just feel like NYC has lost its edge ….I  remember when I moved to NYC in 1989 and then worked for Peter Gatien; NYC was amazing and so edgy!  But then I saw the city becoming more and more middle America and gentrified.

On the other hand, NYC will aways be a strong, amazing city that is capable of reinventing itself. Even though its edge is no longer in your face, you will always be able to find this "je ne said quoi" about NYC and you will constantly have an influx of new "blood" that is desperate to make its mark as the new club personality or "it" factor and this …..is what makes it fabulous!

What NYC clubs do Londoners ask you about?
Well, when it comes to me, they always ask agout the clubs they know I used to be associated with, but mostly are fascinated with the legendary clubs that are now no longer such as Limelight, Tunnel, Club USA , Palladium… but recently XL has been asked about because it’s pretty much the big game in town 🙂 But now, since they know I live in Toronto part-time, they do ask a lot about the new club scene in Toronto!

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