Rob Ford’s favourite nightclub owner is also a political operator

Rob Ford’s favourite nightclub owner is also a political operator

(Image: sookie)

Zlatko Starkovski is a relatively new addition to the cast of characters surrounding Rob Ford, and he’s an especially perplexing one. He’s the owner of Muzik (yes, the nightclub where Ford was spotted beefing with Bieber), and also, the Globe now reveals, a savvy political operator with a complicated business history.

Starkovski is in the news partly because of the mayor’s reported bad behaviour at his club (Ford has claimed Starkovski as a friend, though the club owner recently issued a statement intended to distance himself), but also for another reason: he was instrumental in getting the Exhibition Place board to vote in favour of a ban on all-ages electronic dance events on the Ex grounds, ostensibly because they harbour pedophiles and drug dealers. The ban also, incidentally, eliminated a major source of competition for Muzik, which operates out of Exhibition Place’s Horticultural Building.

The Globe’s investigation makes it clear that quite a bit of time and money went into achieving that ban. Starkovski reportedly hired Sussex Strategy, an influential lobbying firm, to help press the case. Starkovski’s current project is to convince the Exhibition Place board to give Muzik exclusive rights to larger music events at the Ex.

The Globe also figured out that Muzik pays the city way below market rent (a maximum of $10,000 a month) and that Starkovski used to have a major business interest in Club Paradise, a strip club near Bloor and Lansdowne. In retrospect, it’s not hard to imagine how the mayor might have fit in with this whole milieu.

The Globe’s full article is here.