Sexual misconduct and rape accusations force Meinert to sell stake in Lost Lake and the Comet

This “PSA” was posted by the venues Thursday

When it comes to Capitol Hill nightlife ventures, David Meinert is now an ex-owner.

“As of earlier this week, Pike Pine Diner LLC and David Meinert came to an agreement to part ways. David is officially no longer an owner at Lost Lake, Comet, Guild Seattle or Grim’s,” a statement from former Meinert business partner Joey Burgess sent Thursday to CHS and other Seattle media reads.

CHS reported earlier on the Pike/Pine business and jobs fallout in the wake of sexual misconduct and rape accusations against Meinert.

The 52-year-old, who denies the specific allegations of rape and sexual assault and does not face criminal charges in any of the allegations, has been forced to sell his stake in a collection of Capitol Hill bars and restaurants.

The Pike Pine Diner limited liability corporation owned by Meinert and longtime business partner Jason Lajeunesse has held Lost Lake and the Comet tavern, as well as shares in Grim’s, and Guild Seattle, the company that manages the venues. Meinert has now reportedly sold his stake in the holding company.

Meanwhile, the holding company is also selling its shares in Grim’s, making managing partner Burgess the sole owner.

“Supporting our staff through this difficult time is, and will continue to be, our number one priority. We look forward to continuing to focus our energies on creating a great work environment, and customer experience for all our employees and guests,” Burgess writes.

Burgess previously announced that Meinert was “no longer an investor or in any way affiliated” with his other 11th Ave venture, Queer Bar.

Burgess remains as manager of the Guild business with Lajeunesse still in control of the Pike Pine Diner holding company and his separate partnership that owns Neumos.

The Lost Lake and Comet family of businesses are longtime CHS advertisers.

In addition to a music management company, 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 was preparing to open a food+drink project in the ground-floor commercial component of the Gridiron condo development across from CenturyLink.

Meinert is also 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 ventureTorch Northwest.

While Meinert is out as an owner on Capitol Hill, his money may still be involved in area businesses. In June when we talked with him about the Big Mario’s sale, Meinert told CHS he was an investor in Via Tribunali — “now the best pizza on the Hill,” he said at the time. We’ve reached out to the Mike McConnell-owned company to learn more.

UPDATE: McConnell sent CHS the following:

I can confirm that David Meinert was separated from Via Tribunali immediately following the allegations against him. He is no longer a passive investor in any of our businesses.

The cascade of ownership changes seems to bring an end to Meinert’s outsized presence on Capitol Hill.

The business owner kept busy on the political front from efforts to shape Seattle’s $15 minimum wage to commercial rents to sidewalk dumpsters. Some of his efforts like a push for closing Pike/Pine streets for weekend revelers will likely disappear with him.

But the sadness and disappointment around the allegations doesn’t seem likely to fade anytime soon and the changes won’t be the last you’ll hear about the man and the accusations from the five women in the KUOW story.


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18 thoughts on “Sexual misconduct and rape accusations force Meinert to sell stake in Lost Lake and the Comet

  1. This is a good move on the part of Lajeunesse and Burgess. Instead of trying to mitigate their business partner’s actions, they are taking action. Appropriate and will hopefully keep people employed in a better environment.

  2. Obviously this was done in order to protect and keep profitable those businesses that Meinert was involved in. But I find this whole thing rather disturbing…..a “rush to judgment” for sure. Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?

      • Bob, by insisting that Dave is innocent, you’re trying to weave what lawyers call “reasonable doubt” into your interpretation of rape victims’ stories. Why do you believe it is reasonable to doubt victims of sex crimes? Answer this question, Bob. Don’t deflect it.

      • Wow! You continue to put words in my mouth. Don’t you have something better to do? I’m done commenting on this thread.

    • He remains innocent until proven guilty. That is a legal issue. In the world of business, people are free to change their business arrangements. Clearly this was mutually agreed upon as it happened relatively quickly. If Meinert was resistant to this and wanted to refuse to sell, he could have done so and had a protracted legal situation with his now ex-business partners.

      As far as the court of public opinion, we have the choice to form our own opinions based on existing information. I believe the accusers. That is my instinct and choice. My belief doesn’t sentence him to prison and does not represent a rush to judgment. It is based on my closely held beliefs and instincts and the information I have read from various sources.

      There are in fact other instances in which I have judged someone as dangerous before I closely interact with them. And I will always go with my gut on that and I support others doing so as well, potentially erring on the side of self-protection, as self-care is never an actual mistake in the long run.

      There are so many restaurants and bars in this town. It just makes sense to support those that are closer to one’s own personal beliefs and have good business practices and ethics (if such things are important to oneself).

      The other factor is the amount of sexual assaults that go unreported (in homes, workplaces, the streets). Those that even make it to reporting stage (sometimes with people risking serious threat of retribution from perpetrators) need to be heard and acted upon fairly. I believe they had said in this case the statute of limitations was up (itself an issue that I find difficult to stomach and these should be extended). So the court of public opinion is where justice may be found.

      Perhaps there will be civil suits. As of now, he’s still rich and I’m sure has a close circle of friends. He can hang out with Les Moonves with his free time.

      • Thanks, Max, for your thoughtful reply. I agree with you for the most part. However, I would just point out that sometimes the “court of public opinion” is just plain wrong (not saying that’s the case
        here).

      • Bob, why are you questioning the “court of public opinion”? You comment on Capitol Hill Seattle every day, offering your arguments in the court of public opinion. Are you jealous because the arguments against Dave Meinert have resulted in substantive change whereas nobody (not even Jim) takes action based on what you have to say?

      • @ Public court judge: Jeesh, what an irrational attack. I’m here simply to express my opinion, and I don’t expect anybody to “take action” on what I have to say. It’s presumptuous of you to speak for all readers of this blog….some will agree with me and others will not…..that’s the nature of public discourse.

        I have never met Dave Meinert and don’t know him at all….I just think people should be treated fairly and not judged on the little they know about a case. Are you saying that the “court of public opinion” is always fair and always objective? That would be a pretty naive position.

      • Bob, you’re very quick to defend a man who’s facing accusations of rape. Why? What do you hope to gain as a result of defending a man you’ve never met by casting doubt upon the statements of women you’ve never met?

  3. Bob, your deeply ingrained male privilege is showing. When you make claims of concerns of “rush to judgement” etc. you are absolutely casting doubt on the women and perpetuating sexism. This is a learning opportunity for you, or you could chose to keep living on the side of misogyny. There is plenty of information available about sexual assault, the facts v. the myths. Read up.

    • Mimi, it’s kind of presumptuous to accuse someone of misogyny whom you don’t even know. I have not said that the women are lying. I think it’s probable that they are telling the truth. But I would just point out that there are two sides to every story.

  4. First, to all who have commented, no one can force DM to divest of his financial interests. If he’s done so, HE has done so. Even if those in bed with him want him to do so, no one can force him to do it.

    Second, it’s one thing to say he’s done it but how does anyone know he actually HAS done it? There’s no way to prove it. The people in bed with him want to prevent their businesses from being destroyed because Meinert is toxic now and has been accused of doing horrific things (and let’s not forget, done a piss poor job of “explaining what happened.”

    Third, the statute of limitations for rape in WA state is either 10 or 3 years (depending on degree). Even states like Alabama and Mississippi have no statute of limitations (I believe over half of the states in the U.S. have no statutes at all). So everyone crying out “he’s not guilty until found so in a court of law” – well first, you are so cute that you think there is any justice served up for rape victims in court rooms – and second – there will most likely be no trials for the rapes DM [allegedly] committed. Doesn’t mean he didn’t commit the rapes as accused.

    Finally, why is rape the only crime where the perpetrator of the crime gets more support than the victim(s)? Always? I mean, seriously, why? I remember when an 11 year old girl was gang raped by 25 men in TX and she was given no sympathy, accused of “seducing” the men into gang raping her because she “dressed so sexy” and “acted so much older than her age.” It is so deeply misogynist to insist that a girl or woman is ALWAYS lying about being raped (and what about boys and men who are raped, why are they all liars, too)? What is about sexual assault that brings out so many supporters of the rapists?

    Men need to get a grip and stop sexually harassing and assaulting people. And if men don’t want to be associated with men who rape then they need to make sure there is a zero tolerance policy of very specific behaviors of sexual harassment, intimidation, touching, and assault by men they know. People knew what DM was doing. They turned a blind eye because they didn’t care and/or they believe that it’s just a man being a man. NO. It’s a rapist being a rapist and you are supporting a hostile and violent sexual offender because of something you get out of having a relationship with him and that’s 100% on you.

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