By Van Smith
Published in City Paper, Jan. 24, 2007
In late December, Dan McIntosh erupted with expletives over the phone at the mention of Michael J. DePasquale Jr.’s name. McIntosh, who managed and co-owned the since-closed Talking Head Club on Davis Street, said he was mad because he believed DePasquale, who operates Millionaire Vending LLC, screwed him out of an opportunity to buy the building where the Talking Head operated. The deal would have saved the failing club, McIntosh thought, but when DePasquale stepped in and got a contract with the seller last fall, it was the final nail in the coffin.
“That fuckin’ cocksucker,” raged McIntosh, who is on probation in Baltimore County for drug dealing and has open Baltimore City criminal charges against him for harassment filed in November by DePasquale, who alleges McIntosh has left phone messages threatening to kill him and his wife (“Talking Head,” Jan. 3). The case is scheduled for trial on Feb. 20.
“He came into the Talking Head as a vendor, overheard me discussing the purchase, and two days later he puts in a contract on the building,” McIntosh said last month of DePasquale. “And then he didn’t buy it! He called me recently, left a nasty message, said he’d found out about my past and he’s going to ruin my life.”
DePasquale, whose company has had a jukebox, pool table, game machines, and bill changer in the Talking Head since the fall of 2005, recalled events differently in a phone call to City Paper on Jan. 5. “Those guys wanted me to come in with them on the club,” he said, referring to the group McIntosh was pulling together to pool resources for the purchase. “But they didn’t have anything to bring to the table – no money at all. Nothing. So I went on without them.”
DePasquale added that his contract to purchase the building was extended until Feb. 17, a contention that Jim Turner, the real-estate agent for the seller, Jae Y. Hwang, confirmed over the phone on Jan. 18. Turner would not disclose the agreed-upon price, saying that it is privileged information that he’s not free to share even though he’d like to. McIntosh said he’d paid for an appraisal that put a value of $270,000 on the building and contended that DePasquale’s bid was $312,000. Records show that the last time the building switched hands, in 2004, it went for $450,000.
On Jan. 5 DePasquale urgently wanted to share more information about his dealings with McIntosh, saying “your readers would find all of this very interesting” and setting up a plan to meet during the second week in January. But he abruptly stopped talking to City Paper after that phone call. His last communication was a phone message left on the evening of Jan. 5: “Got some news for you,” he said. “We’re actually going down tonight to the Talking Head with the police. They’re repossessing equipment that Mr. Daniel McIntosh is trying to steal, and he’s been trying to sell it on the streets. . . . And I’ve got the evidence for it. So Mr. McIntosh might be put in jail tonight.”
According to David Goldberg, DePasquale’s attorney, the repossession of Millionaire Vending’s equipment from the Talking Head went swimmingly. After filing a complaint in Baltimore City District Court on Jan. 2 against the Talking Head over the return of Millionaire’s machines, which the complaint asserted are worth nearly $27,000, DePasquale went to the club to claim them. “At this particular moment in time, [McIntosh] was a cooperative guy,” Goldberg says. “He was very congenial. There weren’t any fistfights or bombs thrown or anything like that.” The complaint, Goldberg explains, “was nothing sophisticated or sexy. It’s simply that Millionaire Vending requested the machines back and [Talking Head] wouldn’t give the machines back. Now that [DePasquale] has them back, the issue may have become moot.” McIntosh did not respond to messages asking for comment for this article, and neither did his business partner Roman Kuebler.
Goldberg says he advised DePasquale not to talk to City Paper any longer. “I told him not to talk to reporters,” he recalls. “I said that, based on my experience, they don’t write what you tell them to say, they write what they want to say.”
Like McIntosh, DePasquale has a tumultuous history in the courts. He was convicted of assault in Dorchester County on the Eastern Shore in 2001 and received a four-year sentence, with three years and four days suspended. He’s been charged with a number of other crimes, including impersonating a police officer, theft, writing bad checks, a battery charge, and another assault charge. In several of the cases the prosecutors declined to pursue the charges, and in the others he received probation before judgment.
DePasquale’s attorney in many of the criminal matters is from a Baltimore-based law firm, Silverman, Thompson, and White, that is now suing him for nearly $3,000 that it claims he owes; the case is scheduled for trial in February. The dispute is over services the firm provided in negotiating a lease for one of DePasquale’s companies, Vicious Boutique, which operated a sex shop out of the same address – 6506 Ridge Road in Rosedale – that is listed as the principal office of Millionaire Vending.
Vicious Boutique’s short existence–the public record indicates it was open for about a year starting in the fall of 2003–generated a handful of other lawsuits for unpaid bills. In particular, Jack Gresser, who owns real estate on the Block, including the old Gayety Theater, where the Hustler Club now operates, sued Vicious in 2004 and won judgments totaling more than $4,500 over pornographic DVDs and sex toys that weren’t paid for. Baltimore County Councilman Douglas B. Riley, Gresser’s lawyer in those cases, says, “We got a judgment, and when we tried to collect it had gone out of business. When we got to the store to seize the property, it was empty.” The case file indicates that neighbors said DePasquale had moved to Florida.
In Dania Beach, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale, DePasquale owns another vending machine company called Tripleblaster Vending. That company was recently dissolved due to its failure to file an annual report with the state of Florida. In 2005, DePasquale used Tripleblaster checks to pay for about $2,500 in veterinarian services from the Academy Animal Hospital on Belair Road. The first check was drawn from a closed account, according to the court file of the criminal bad-check charge that the vet filed, while the other was returned for insufficient funds. Also in 2005, DePasquale was charged in Baltimore County with cutting a bad check to Komar Co., a pornography wholesaler in Hampden, but prosecutors declined to pursue the case.
These and other cases of DePasquale coming up short on the bills, or not paying off court judgments, raise the question of whether or not he can make good on his contract to buy the Talking Head real estate. The building’s current owner, Jae Hwang, repeatedly says, “I have no idea,” or, “I really don’t know,” when asked about DePasquale and his troubles.
February will be the month when many of these issues will be resolved. That’s when DePasquale’s contract to purchase the Davis Street building expires, when the law firm’s suit against him goes to trial, and when his criminal harassment charge against McIntosh will be adjudicated. What remains unclear is how DePasquale’s contract to buy the building contributed to the already-failing Talking Head’s ultimate demise. To DePasquale, it was all just business-rejecting an offer to come in with cashless partners and instead pursuing the deal on his own. McIntosh, though, said, “All the shit that he put us through, it was a lot to deal with.”