March 7, 2002

Odyssey Closes; Former Employees Attack Owner

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Partygoers who frequented the popular Odyssey Night Club will find a padlock instead of bouncers greeting them at the old Masonic Temple building. The club, in addition to being evicted Monday after a month of proceedings, was the scene of an attack on owner Dennis A. Falco early Saturday morning.

According to the Ithaca Police Department report, Falco was found at 2:30 a.m. inside a taxicab near the nightclub stabbed and suffering from head wounds. Two of Falco’s employees, Travis L. Brooks and Mbusi Ntombela, were arrested and charged with second-degree assault then released on their own recognizance.

The report stated that the men allegedly attacked Falco with pool cues after he refused to pay their salary. The report said Falco claimed the night’s earnings were stolen.

Falco could not be reached for comment. Blake Myers, a former employee, declined to comment.

According to Eric Van Zile, a former Odyssey manager quoted in yesterday’s Ithaca Times, Ntombela at one point was temporarily banned from the nightclub after starting a fight with a bartender.

Last weekend was not the first of the Odyssey’s troubles; in early November, Zile told the Times, several employees quit after “being disrespected” by Falco. Ntombela was one of the employees hired to replace them.

In the Times report, landlord Jason Fane claimed the Odyssey owed a large amount of back rent — $42,882.01 according to Tuesday’s Ithaca Journal. Zile also said that the club “has been through financial trouble before. But we had always dug ourselves out.”

Negotiations are currently underway to find a replacement for the nightclub, now the largest vacancy in downtown Ithaca.

“We had been working very closely with the Odyssey owners to keep it going,” said Gary Ferguson, executive director of the Ithaca Downtown Partnership, in the Times. “But that effort seems to have stalled.”

He noted in the Journal that there is “modest interest” in the building. He said he is seeking to fill the space with another entertainment business or possibly a museum.

Archived article by Andy Guess