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Accused Vancouver ‘makeshift nightclub’ host alleges ‘smear campaign’

Click to play video: 'Man charged and $17K in fines issued at a Vancouver penthouse allegedly hosting a ‘makeshift nightclub’' Man charged and $17K in fines issued at a Vancouver penthouse allegedly hosting a ‘makeshift nightclub’
WATCH: Vancouver Police say they arrested a 42-year-old man at a downtown condo penthouse that was allegedly operating as a "makeshift nightclub." – Jan 31, 2021

We’re hearing more from the man accused of operating a “makeshift nightclub” in a downtown Vancouver penthouse, in violation of B.C.’s COVID-19 restrictions.

In a now-deactivated GoFundMe campaign, Mo Movassaghi accused Vancouver publication Vancouver is Awesome of trying to “smear” his name, and solicited donations for his legal defence.

The campaign raised $260 before being shut down.

Click to play video: 'Penthouse party bust: What were alleged illegal nightclub attendees thinking?' Penthouse party bust: What were alleged illegal nightclub attendees thinking?
Penthouse party bust: What were alleged illegal nightclub attendees thinking? – Jan 31, 2021

A spokesperson for GoFundMe verified Movassaghi’s identity, and said he had taken the campaign down himself.

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“I was arrested on Sunday, January 31st, 2021 in my home because of a gathering among my friends,” the GoFundMe states.

Read more: One charged, $17K in fines issued at Vancouver penthouse allegedly hosting ‘makeshift nightclub’

“My doors have been dented and one broken. Once upon a time before November 2020, parties were legal. We had private property rights (straight from the constitution).”

The GoFundMe claimed that there had been no reported complaints from his neighbours, and that there had been no COVID-19 cases associated with his party.

It also claimed police seized $10,000 in cash.

“There is also property damage I cannot fix given my bail conditions. I now face multiple fines of up to $25k as well as a possible jail sentence. The powers that be have also engaged in a smear campaign, which has affected my ability to work and earn a living,” the post states.

Click to play video: 'EXCLUSIVE RAW VIDEO: Vancouver police bust alleged ‘makeshift nightclub’ breaking COVID-19 restrictions' EXCLUSIVE RAW VIDEO: Vancouver police bust alleged ‘makeshift nightclub’ breaking COVID-19 restrictions
EXCLUSIVE RAW VIDEO: Vancouver police bust alleged ‘makeshift nightclub’ breaking COVID-19 restrictions – Jan 31, 2021

The post also offered a “custom Granny’s T-shirt” to anyone who donated more than $100. According to a Vancouver Sun report, the illegal club allegedly operated under the name “Granny’s.”

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According to a search warrant application filed by Vancouver police, a guest at an event at the penthouse at 777 Richards St. described a maskless crowd of between 50 and 100 people “standing shoulder to shoulder” inside the three-level condo.

Exotic dancers were spinning on a stripper pole that ran from the second floor down to the first in the three-level suite. There was a DJ booth and bartenders making and serving drinks available for purchase. Spotlights and “mood lighting” gave the room the look of a club, according to the document.

Read more: Booze and no shoes: Inside the Vancouver ‘makeshift nightclub’ that flouted COVID-19 orders

The warrant for the Jan. 31 raid was eventually approved, in part, due to a 100-cheeseburger delivery order to the unit observed by police.

Police said when they attended the unit they found 78 people inside, along with menus, liquor, point-of-sale terminals and multiple cash tills.

More than $17,000 in fines were issued to attendees, while Movassaghi was arrested and now faces two charges of failure to comply with an order of a health officer

Click to play video: 'Vancouver police say man arrested, $17K in fines issued over party at alleged ‘makeshift nightclub’' Vancouver police say man arrested, $17K in fines issued over party at alleged ‘makeshift nightclub’
Vancouver police say man arrested, $17K in fines issued over party at alleged ‘makeshift nightclub’ – Jan 31, 2021

Police allege that they had received at least six complaints about the unit in January, and first attended on Jan. 23.

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On that occasion, they issued $2,500 in fines to a doorman, but were unable to gain access to the unit.

Movassaghi is due back in court on Feb. 22 to face the public health act charges, and has been released on multiple conditions.

Those include a requirement to open the door for police, a ban on hosting parties or holding liquor in the unit.

On Sunday, Movassaghi’s lawyer Bobby Movassaghi issued a statement saying his client was entitled to his day in court.

“He simply asks that you keep in mind that at this point in time these are unproven allegations, and like anyone else charged with an offence in Canada, he enjoys the presumption of innocence,” he said.

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