Oppressive police tactics ruined Time Supper Club's Grand Prix weekend plans and cost the bar $30,000 in unpaid tabs (since updated to $46,377.62 for Saturday night alone). So alleges Thierry Havitov, operator of the swanky bottle service boîte with brothers Freddy and Mike since 2002. Three successive raids by Montreal police units took place at the downtown club over the busy F1 race weekend. The most disruptive, by the Section Éclipse, a unit whose primary objective is to combat organized crime and street gang violence, broke up a party hosted by reality television personality and Kardashian hanger-on Scott Disick on Saturday.
"We've reached a point where we're fed up by this constant abuse by the police department," a livid Havitov told CBC radio. "This has been happening for a very long time." It began on Thursday when "20 to 30" uniformed officers entered the premises at 12:30 a.m. "ready to take down, like it was a terrorist attack" and asked patrons to show their identifications. Havitov was bewildered.
"You have to remember, we're a restaurant-bar, we're not just a bar. We serve food, high-end cuisine, from one of the best chefs in the world. Our patrons are fed up. They've been living this for a long time. And it's not just our patrons, it's our visitors. The people that come from out of town, the tourists, who love our city and see this happening year after year and year after year. Where is our mayor? Why isn't he doing something about this? Why do the police go gung-ho on Grand Prix weekend against all the establishments, all the restaurants, the Buonanottes, the Cavallis, the Harlows, the Flyjins? All of them got hit! Every single one of them, constant abuse! Year after year! And we can't do nothing!"
For Havitov, there is a mutual relationship between alleged police harrassment, city hall apathy, and the sluggish economy. "You've destroyed the city, the economy. How many restaurants have closed this year? People are disgusted. They want to stay home. They don't even want to go out!"
The police told CBC that while routine raids take place every two months, they were accelerated for Grand Prix weekend to verify for overcapacity, the presence of minors, and organized crime and street gang activity. A hitman was allegedly in the crowd at Time, a CBC producer was also told. No arrests were made, however. "They're full of shit," said a disgusted Havitov. "They're just harrassing us. They have nothing better to do!" A gratuitous case of harrassment seems improbable, CBC radio host Mike Finnerty told Havitov. "It's the new mafia Mike," Havitov responded. "This is the new mafia. The police is the new mafia."