In Other News...
New Staff, New Skatepark?
It's not often that an entire bar staff quits, but last week, all 11 staff members at Wallingford's Babalu: The Mambo Room walked off the job, several staffers report. The reason, they say, is because Shaun Williams—a friend of Babalu owner Michael Prineas—threatened a bartender.
After closing, on Friday, July 13, the bartender, a young woman who wanted to remain anonymous, asked Williams to lock the front door. According to former Babalu bartender Patrick Pacyga, who was on the scene, "Shaun... physically threatened her. It was scary actually. He's a large guy. It was weird how fast he flared. He had to be physically restrained and three guys had to escort him out." According to several other staff members, who asked not to be named, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Williams told the young woman he was going to "bury [her]."
Williams says he "did not threaten to 'bury' her," but admits that he was at fault for the incident. According to Williams, he told the woman, "'What you need to do is shut the ef up, bitch.' It was my fault, but I never threatened anyone in any way. I take 100 percent responsibility for what I did wrong."
Babalu's owner, Prineas, says his staff left because "it wasn't a good fit for the people that were here."
Former staffers seem to agree. They say they felt unsafe working around Williams, who they say hung around a lot. They also cited problems with Prineas's management style.
Former bar manager Elizabeth Williams says she had to pay several bands out of her own pocket after Prineas failed to pay for performances.
Prineas counters Williams's accusations. "I'm old school," he says. "I do things according to the book. If people don't show up on time to play, don't expect to get the full amount of money."
Babalu remains open with a new staff.
Seattle skatepark supporters faced a stunning setback this week after the planned relocation of the SeaSk8 site, formerly located just east of Seattle Center, screeched to a halt in city council.
While the plan's confirmation by the city council seemed like a sure thing a week ago (the full council was set to vote on it July 23 after it passed out of committee on July 18), approval for the new SeaSk8 spot near the Vera Project, in Seattle Center's Northwest Rooms, has now been delayed for two weeks. Council members raised concerns about the removal of the Du Pen fountain and a loss of open space at the proposed site.
Skate Park Advisory Committee chair Ryan Barth says he's frustrated about the delay. However, he's not giving up. "We're going to flood the city council members with support on this site. Du Pen fountain, if it remains, will be an illegal skate spot anyway, regardless of the approval process."