ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) - A former Albuquerque nightclub owner will not go to prison for allowing a wild party for teens to be held in his nightclub. But that doesn't mean Aleksander Mkhitarian won't be punished.
Mkhitarian was the owner of "Club 7" in downtown Albuquerque when law enforcement raided the club in August 2008. Inside, they found nearly 600 people packed into the club. That's almost twice the capacity allowed by law.
Police say many of the partygoers were teenagers, some with drugs and alcohol. Many of the underage girls were also dressed in skimpy lingerie, the youngest being only 10 years-old.
After the raid, the city closed the club. Mkhitarian plead guilty on Tuesday to six fourth-degree felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He faced up to nine years in prison under a plea deal.
However, Bernalillo County District Court Judge Pat Murdoch sentenced him to five years probation and 200 hours of community service. The judge admonished Mkhitarian for profiting from "a very intolerable situation."
But in turn, the judge said he would rather have Mkhitarian serve the community instead of serving time behind bars.
"My client has always been of the mindset that he wants to give back to the community and he took responsibility and today was the beginning of putting all this behind him and proving himself to the community that he is worthy," said Mkhitarian's attorney Ahmad Assad. He added, "This case was not about punishment but giving back."
In 2009, Mkhitarian was found guilty of misdemeanor fire code violations at the club and sentenced to three years in prison. But he appealed and worked out a deal where he got probation by agreeing never to open another all-ages club in Bernalillo County.
As part of Tuesday's plea deal, Mkhitarian also agreed to testify against the promoters who leased out his club to throw that underage party.
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