Blacklisted bar promoting party for U.S. soldiers
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — The Granada Discotheke is planning a party for soldiers.
Problem is, if American soldiers from nearby H.D. Smith Barracks in Baumholder attend, they’ll be defying a direct order to stay out of the club, which is on the U.S. Army Europe’s official off-limits list.
But Carola Birck, the Granada manager, is adamant her club is not on the off-limits list — that officials at Baumholder assured her it’s no longer verboten because it went two years without problems.
So confident is Birck that she has scheduled a “soldiers’ night” event for Friday night.
There is no dispute between the Army and club owners that there were problems at the Granada. The disco has been off limits since 2002, when Granada security personnel assaulted several off-duty military police, said Sean Lambur, 222nd Base Support Battalion civilian misconduct officer in Baumholder.
Since then, Birck said she’s changed security companies and tried to patch things up with Smith Barracks officials.
“It’s been two years since we had any problems, so [Army officials] say we’re off the list,” Birck said.
Birck and other bar owners, including employees of the Paradox Club in Ramstein-Miesenbach, told Stars and Stripes they believed their clubs have been removed from the off-limits list because of a two-year statue of limitations.
Not so, Lambur said.
Granada management has to petition the 222nd BSB to be taken off the list, and prove they’ve made changes: “If they’ve done that, I’m not aware of it.”
In e-mail responses, USAREUR officials stated there is no statue of limitations for the list.
Local police say Granada management has changed for the better. Roland Maurer, with the crimianl unit at Idar-Oberstein’s police station, said his officers have few problems there. Granada employees occasionally call police — who in turn call Army military police — when there are fights involving GIs at the club. But for the last two years, fights haven’t been a problem, he and other German police told Stars and Stripes.
A German policeman, who asked not to be identified, said drugs, including Ecstasy, may be available at the Granada, “but that’s the situation at all clubs.”
Caught in between USAREUR and blacklisted businesses are U.S. soldiers, who point out that the Granada is the best disco near Baumholder.
“I’ve heard that it’s off limits because some idiots were [buying] Ecstasy,” said a Baumholder soldier who declined to give his name during a recent Saturday night visit. “If that’s the issue, why aren’t any Sachsenhausen bars [in Frankfurt’s notorious bar district] on the list?”
In 2002, two Friedberg-based 1st Armored Division soldiers killed and robbed fellow soldier Pfc. Clint Lamebear, and left his body in a Sachsenhausen parking garage. Sworn court-martial testimony from the investigation described binge-drinking soldiers wandering club-to-club, fighting, using drugs and casually engaging prostitutes.
By contrast, the Granada is “a fairly low-key” club in a small city, and more likely to call police, Maurer said.
But if American soldiers get caught attending the Granada’s “soldiers’ night event,” they could still end up facing non-judicial punishment.