Nightclub Where Valet Died Lacked Valet License

City: Rockstar Lounge Could Face $999 Fine, Jail

The Denver nightclub where a valet died in a hit-and-run on Saturday could face serious sanctions for not having a valet license, a city spokeswoman said.

The owner of Rockstar Lounge faces up to a $999 fine and a year in jail, because their valet service did not have valet operator license or location license, said Meghan Hughes, spokeswoman for the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses.

The city has rigorous regulations for valet services, including requiring an $875 operator license and a $200 location license for each venue a valet contractor serves, she said.

Requirements to getting the license include valet criminal background checks and approval of a parking plan and map of the venue area to ensure public safety at the valet station, Hughes said. Valet services also need a minimum $250,000 liability insurance and $1 million personal injury insurance as well as a valid lease for private parking lots.

Rocky Mountain Valet Inc. owner Chris Misko said he filed a license application on Nov. 17 for the Rockstar Lounge, but he quickly pulled out of the job because he couldn't find the required parking.

“We said there's no way we're moving forward, if we can't secure parking,” Misko told Wednesday.

"It's (important to) the well-being and safety of our valets to make sure they have proper places to park the vehicles," Misko added. "On a liability standpoint, we've have to make sure that we're in a secure parking area we're leasing …where cars aren't getting broken into. They're not just randomly parked on the street or in parking lots."

Hughes said it's unclear who employed Medina, who'd only been a valet at Rockstar for three nights when he was killed.

"Ultimately it's up to the venue itself, it's entirely their responsibility" to ensure their valet service is licensed, Hughes said. "Ultimately, you have to have a license and there was no license for Rockstar."

Rockstar co-owner Patrick Wilson declined to discuss the valet licensing issue.

"I would love to comment on this and I can't because of the investigation and because of possible litigation," he said.

Hughes said the city licensing agency won't start its investigation until police complete their probe of the fatal hit-and-run.

The Medina family's attorney, Gabriel Schwartz, said he's reviewing the nightclub's failure to obtain a license.

"Obviously, it's concerning," Schwartz said. "It's something that we're looking into." The attorney said he's hasn't determined who employed Medina as a valet.

Both Wilson and Schwartz said they want to keep the focus on finding Medina's killer.

"I just can't wait until they catch this person," Wilson said.

Meanwhile, Wilson said Rockstar and other Denver nightclubs are organizing a fundraiser for the Medina family.

"We want to do something special for the family in memory of Jose and also just to provide whatever financial assistance the family may need."

Medina's family will hold a public memorial for the man from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Washington Park Chapel, 1001 S. Pearl St., said the family's attorney, Gabriel Schwartz.

The family is accepting donations to help pay for funeral expenses. Donations can be made at any Colorado State Bank and Trust location with this information: The Law Offices of Sandomire and Schwartz for the benefit of Jose Medina, Account No. 8093874893. Donations also can be mailed to to 3610 E. 1st Ave., Denver, CO.