EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- The owner of The Rok nightclub is sharing his side of the story why he’s decided to forfeit the club’s liquor license following a 15 month Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) investigation into alcohol-related issues at the club.
The OLCC has been investigating The Rok since October 2011. An agency report released in January showed more than 43 serious incidents at the club during the course of the investigation including assaults with weapons, drunk driving arrests and other issues.
The Rok’s owner, Ronald McKy, says he’s decided to give up the club’s liquor license because he doesn’t have the resources to fight the OLCC. McKy says he wanted to keep the club going as normal but says the problems are beyond his control.
In an interview Thursday, McKy told NewsSource 16 that many of the serious incidents stem from the club’s size and popularity. According to McKy, The Rok has a capacity of 600 people. McKy says the club is also one of the only locations in Eugene that stays open for dancing past 2:30 AM, when alcohol sales end. In turn, McKy says both factors draw many people to the club.
“Incidents happen everywhere in Eugene. It's not like this is the only place that they happen,” said McKy.
McKy says The Rok is responsible for anyone on the property, whether they’re walking through the parking lot or denied entry.
At the end of the night, McKy says it becomes difficult for his security staff to foresee the personal issues that arise between club patrons.
“Because I have so many people in here, naturally some situations will occur and we handle it ourselves to the best of our ability,” said McKy.
Some allegations in the report claim McKy and his wife attempted to stop club employees and patrons from calling 911 when problems arose. The report also says patrons were often over-served alcohol at the club. McKy says both claims are false.
McKy told NewsSource 16 that ultimately he wants people to be safe and to stay in business. Seven of the 22 people employed at the business are state certified security guards, according to McKy.
Under the unapproved OLCC plan, McKy will have to forfeit The Rok’s liquor license by April 19. OLCC Commissioners may approve the plan at a February 28 meeting. If the plan is approved, the club would only be allowed to serve alcohol until 12 AM each day. It would have to close at 1 AM.
Originally, McKy told the OLCC that he would attempt to sell The Rok. McKy told NewsSource 16 Thursday that he’ll try to remodel and convert the venue into a large event space for wedding receptions, parties, conferences and the like. McKy says the venue would be family friendly and for all ages.