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Lexington nightclub owner faces alcohol-sales and weapon charges

A Lexington nightclub owner has been charged with selling alcohol without a license, possession of cocaine and marijuana and carrying a concealed deadly weapon.

William L. McGinnis III, who owns Club 9 at 934 Winchester Road, pleaded not guilty to the charges in an arraignment Monday.

McGinnis, 40, was arrested at 5:20 a.m. Friday, court records show.

According to a police report, alcohol found at the business was presumed to be there for sale. The cocaine was found in a blue sofa in a common area. The weapon specified in the charges against McGinnis was a .40-caliber handgun.

McGinnis said in an interview Tuesday that the marijuana was found on a desk in an office used by a group of people to whom he rents out the club. He said the gun was found under a couch in that office, which he said he does not use.

As for the cocaine found in a couch, McGinnis said, "about 1,000 people have sat on that couch."

He said that there was some alcohol in the club but said he is not selling it.

He said he believes Club 9 has been unfairly targeted by police.

"They want to close the club," he said. "They don't want an after-hours club. ... This is basically harrassment."

Several other people at the club were arrested at the same time as McGinnis and face similar charges. McGinnis said he rents the facility to them on Fridays and Saturdays.

Club 9 is a nightclub "with live entertainment, after-hours parties and private parties," according to documents filed in April with the Secretary of State.

McGinnis has been in the public eye several times in the past.

In 1998, while working as a stripper, he ran against Pam Miller for the mayor's office. Later, he ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat.

In 2002, he broke Yellow Cab's long-held taxi monopoly in Lexington, when, after the General Assembly changed the rules, McGinnis opened a business with just one cab.

He continues to operate a cab business under the name Lexington Taxi.