The Pike/Pine fallout from Meinert rape accusations

Dow Constantine at 2011’s Capitol Hill Block Party with producer Dave Meinert (Image: CHS)

Clients and business associates are distancing themselves from Pike/Pine nightlife entrepreneur David Meinert in the wake of accusations of sexual misconduct and rape reported by KUOW.

“This situation is heartbreaking,” Joey Burgess tells CHS. “David has real issues and will be dealing with them.”

Burgess is co-owner of 11th Ave club Grim’s with Meinert and Jason Lajeunesse. Meinert, meanwhile, is also an investor in Burgess’s neighboring Queer/Bar.

In a message to CHS this weekend, Burgess said that Meinert is “stepping away” from “our company.”

Effective immediately, David Meinert is stepping away from operations and management of our Company. Personally, I’m trying to get my thoughts together and process everything. However, right now my only focus is on my employees, how they are coping and how to support them.

Lajeunesse tells CHS that Burgess’s message includes his business relationship with Meinert. According to Lajeunesse, he and Meinert own the company which holds Lost Lake and the Comet tavern, as well as the shares in Grim’s, and Guild Seattle, the company that manages the venues. “He has no interest in any of my other businesses,” Lajeunesse said. Lajeunesse is part of the ownership of Neumos and produces the annual Capitol Hill Block Party.

UPDATE: Burgess tells CHS Meinert is out at Gay Bar:

After learning of allegations we immediately began exploring options to exit out David from his initial investment in Queer/Bar. Even though David was in no way involved in the decision making or day to day operation of the bar we felt that this was our only course of action. As of yesterday we have reached an agreement and David is no longer an investor or in any way affiliated with the amazing business and community resource our employees and team has made Queer/Bar become. This agreement cements my husband Murf Hall and myself as the sole owner and operators of Queer/Bar with no other parties involved.

We asked Lajeunesse if Meinert’s status with the bars and Lost Lake would change following the accusations.

“Well, his status has changed already,” Lajeunesse writes. “He is no longer working in an active manger/owner capacity, not in the office or on site. As far as ownership changes, I can’t comment on that at this time.”

The companies involved are longtime CHS advertisers.

KUOW’s report detailing the encounters between Meinert and five women “alleging a range of disturbing behavior by Meinert” over a fourteen year period between 2001 and 2015 has shaken the Pike/Pine nightlife scene.

It also has put the politically-inclined Meinert’s associates in elected offices on the defensive — King County Executive Down Constantine, for one, has vowed to return $5,000 in Meinert campaign contributions.

Meinert denied the specific allegations of rape and sexual assault in a lengthy response on Facebook. “I am sorry to the people I have hurt, and that my behavior has also impacted many people around me – my daughter, her mother, my girlfriend, family, friends, and the many amazing people who work for and with me, who I care deeply about,” he wrote.

Many feel the denial and apologies have not been enough.

Friday, Meinert’s music management company lost its first client in the fallout from the accusations as the band Hey Mareilles announced it is dropping its relationship with Meinert’s Onto Entertainment:

In addition to the music management company, and his co-ownership and investment in Pike/Pine venues, Meinert is also owner of the 5-Point Cafe in Belltown, and recently announced he had sold his share of Big Mario’s as he gets ready to open his food+drink investment in the ground-floor commercial component of the Gridiron condo project across from CenturyLink. Meinert also is a partner in Seattle Event Solutions, a company that provides food and drink management for AEG Presents, the live event division of the global sporting and music entertainment presenter. Meinert described the deal as taking over the Showbox bars when we talked to him about the business in 2016. Meinert’s company won the deal after Anheuser-Busch was fined $150,000 for exerting “undue influence” to gain a beer monopoly at Showbox, Showbox SoDo, and Marymoor Park. In 2014, meanwhile, CHS reported on Meinert’s I-502 marijuana venture, Torch Northwest.

The situation involves lives and livelihoods beyond Meinert, who does not face criminal charges or any yet filed lawsuits over the allegations.

“These three businesses are so many more people than him,” Lajeunesse said of the Pike/Pine venues he has partnered in with Meinert. “In this equation, he has business partners and we have around 100 or so employees also affected by this. We are trying to prioritize them and the health of the company at the moment, and taking steps to do that.”

For those who came forward as victims, the KUOW story on the accusations recounts psychological damage, panic attacks, depression, and anger suffered by the women. One of the accusers described a decade of shame of burying away what had happened to her.

To repair what can be repaired, much more, is needed for the women who came forward. There is no clear route to justice — or even something as simple as taking a dollar out of Dave Meinert’s pocket by not drinking at his bars.


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3 thoughts on “The Pike/Pine fallout from Meinert rape accusations

  1. In addition to everything else, the first comment on https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/07/19/29404952/five-women-accuse-dave-meinert-of-sexual-misconduct-including-rape/comments/1 asks a good question:

    > Out of curiosity, was this story pitched to the editorial staff and turned down prior to Sydney leaving?

    Sydney Brownstone only started at KUOW earlier this year (http://www.kuow.org/people/sydney-brownstone). The Stranger should public state whether this story was brought to their newsroom and if so, how it was handled.

  2. The most insidiously heinous part of the story is that Meinert committed these acts from a position of power. Meinert quite obviously fails to understand is that he has been for a long time a person of power and that when wielding such power, you must be triply more cautious to ever make the very “mistakes” (his words – read assaults) that he has admitted to in his defense. Any type of “pushiness” by a power broker is abuse. But honestly, does anyone here not believe these women’s stories? They would have to be insane to come out and say these things. Unfortunately he is now in the position where he has to deny rape because if he admits to rape he will be charged by the SPD. Read between the lines folks…turns out Dave is a shit-turd of a person…glad to see he is being dropped by all his business partners.

  3. I have a couple of good friends that are employed at businesses he’s part owner of who are truly down to earth great people. I would hate to see them undeservingjy suffer because of this news.

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