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Originally published Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Another case tossed in Seattle nightclub sting

Another case stemming from last year's controversial sting operation of nightclubs has been dismissed. Majid Al Musawi, 38, an employee...

Seattle

Another case stemming from last year's controversial sting operation of nightclubs has been dismissed.

Majid Al Musawi, 38, an employee at the now defunct Tabella Restaurant & Lounge, had been charged in September with allowing two minors into a tavern.

The witnesses against him included a Seattle police officer and two women who had posed as minors. The officer and one of the women were no-shows at a Seattle Municipal Court hearing Monday, and the other woman was unable to identify Al Musawi as the person who let them in.

City Attorney Tom Carr said that he didn't view the no-shows as "comment on the merits of the case."

Al Musawi's attorney, Michael Schwartz, said city witnesses didn't show up at a hearing in the case last week, prompting the judge to order the city to pay him $420 for his time.

This past Friday, the first case to go to trial in the sting came back with a quick verdict of not guilty. That case was against a former Tabella bouncer who had been charged with allowing an armed patron to enter the club.

Of the 27 defendants charged in the sting, about half have seen their cases dismissed or will have them dismissed if they stay out of trouble and meet other conditions, according to a review of court records. Nine other cases are slated to go before juries this month or next.

Seattle

County may amend menu requirement

King County's public-health board has called an emergency meeting for this morning to consider amending a requirement that many chain restaurants display nutritional data on menus.

Health board Chair Julia Patterson said she and Public Health Director David Fleming would support requiring fewer restaurants to post such nutritional data, and for fewer items, in exchange for the Washington Restaurant Association's word that it would cooperate.

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The restaurant trade group, which has fought the requirement, would have to agree to stop supporting bills before the Legislature that would block the labeling requirement, which begins in August. The restaurant association also has agreed not to sue the county, said its government-affairs director, Trent House.

The meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. at the King County Council Chambers on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse, 516 Third Ave., Seattle.

Seattle

Crocodile Cafe deal looks unlikely

The mystery at Second Avenue and Blanchard Street just took another twist, as a potential deal to purchase the Crocodile Cafe has apparently fallen through.

"Groupee Venues withdrew their liquor-license application on Monday," according to Anne Radford of the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

In early January, a few weeks after the venerable Belltown rock club suddenly closed, Groupee applied for the Crocodile's liquor license. This apparently signaled Groupee was purchasing the Crocodile, but at the time, Groupee's Lori Hope would say only, "I cannot confirm or deny that."

Hope did not immediately return a call on Tuesday.

Groupee, a software-development company formerly known as InfoSpace, has no experience in running a club.

The Crocodile Cafe was opened in 1991 by attorney-turned-businesswoman Stephanie Dorgan. She has not publicly stated the reason for closing the Crocodile in December.

Dorgan did not return a phone call Tuesday.

Seattle

Port OKs 1st project since critical audit

The Port of Seattle Commission voted Tuesday to move ahead with a $413 million rental-car center at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, making it the first nonemergency project to gain approval since a state audit criticized Port construction practices.

In a 4-0 vote, commissioners authorized spending $5 million on designing and preparing the 23-acre site, which would include a 5,400-car garage.

Commissioner Gael Tarleton is in Asia visiting Port customers and did not vote.

The rental-car center, scheduled to open in 2011, is being funded almost entirely by a $4-per-day fee on rental-car customers, which has been collected since February 2006.

Construction of the facility is expected to start in May, if the commission approves.

Seattle Times staff and news services

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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