Shock Nightclub Founder Julien Manival Skipped Town Without Paying His Tab

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Shock nightclub founder Julien Manival
When Shock nightclub opened on South Beach last November, visitors were treated to quite a show: women in can-can costumes brought customers flaming drinks. Leggy models reclined on kinky red leather couches listening to the club's cutting-edge sound system. Shock's founder, Julien Manival, bragged that he wanted his patrons' heads to spin for days from all the special effects.

Three months later, however, the only heads now spinning belong to Manival's ex-employees. When Shock abruptly shut down after only two weeks, the Frenchman jetted back across the Atlantic, leaving behind him up to $100,000 in outstanding debts.

"He wanted to be the hottest club on South Beach," says local artist Victor-Hugo Vaca Jr., who claims Manival still owes him $20,000 for a mural. "But what is going on there right now is fraud."

The Miami Beach club scene has long been notorious for shady establishments, shysters, and SOBs. But Manival came across as a smooth gentleman with a Rolex watch and a beguiling accent. Even SoBe's biggest names didn't flinch when he proposed opening up a club where '90s hot spot Liquid once stood on Washington Avenue near Española Way.

"He talked a good game," says Nick D'Annunzio from TARA Ink., a public relations firm Manival hired to promote Shock. "Julien made it seem like he came from money and had created a name for himself in southern France," he adds. "He really seemed like a big deal."

Instead, Manival stopped paying TARA Ink. after the first month, breaking a $16,250 contract but promising to settle-up as soon as he renewed his visa back in France. He hasn't returned yet. D'Annunzio says he's since tried billing Manival's credit card but it has been rejected repeatedly. "I don't think we're ever going to get paid," he laments.

Many of Manival's associates knew the club was in trouble long before it opened. Arturo Vargas, an investor in LUX - the club upstairs from Shock - reluctantly agreed to loan the project $44,000 to buy liquor. But when he stopped by shortly before the opening, he realized Manival had no idea what he was doing. "Everything was so disorganized," he remembers. "He bit off more than he could chew."

Reached in France, Manival claims he's the sucker, losing $300,000 of his money when the building's owners cut-off his credit and closed the club without warning.

"The owner is the stealer because he stole my credit card and changed the lock with all my materials inside," he says in halting English. "It wasn't my fault." Manival says he still plans to pay his debts to TARA Ink. and others, and still wants to make it in South Beach. But he claims he already paid Hugo $3,000 -- more than enough considering his mural was two weeks late.

Vaca Jr. says his work was delivered on time and Manival's check for $2,662 bounced.

The painter says his fellow artists and entertainment workers are Manival's real victims. "I've had people tell me they are going to commit suicide over this," Vaca Jr. says. "If this guy keeps pulling this kind of stuff in South Beach, somebody is going to reach the end of their rope."

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14 comments
Occupy CrackheadJesus
Occupy CrackheadJesus

WWCHJD? What Would Crackhead Jesus Do? Pay Jimmy Copora to bribe Building Director Richard Macconachie, to break the law, under the nose of Mayor Matti Bower.

Aimeecepedas
Aimeecepedas

Wow, what really SHOCKS me about this saga, is that there are still morons who will believe any eurotrash (especially FRENCH) who walks into their business with a "smooth" presentation and they believe the guy with no research about previous business dealings. Google is your friend people. The other shocking thing is that Tara Ink has such bad taste as to hire an so-called artists such as the one involved in this dispute. Have you guys seen his uber tacky online portfolio? The guy is a joke. I mean his stuff is beyond laughable, yet he gets a commission from this scam artist and Tara Ink to decorate a new club with some cheesy "artwork" that wouldn't get him admitted even to the diploma mill that is the Miami Institute of Art. Although Im sure monsieur Manival is a total grifter, the artist should consider himself lucky he got at least $2,000 for something that should be decorating the insides of a trashcan.

Sluticus
Sluticus

Of course this is nothing new. Miami in particular draws scammers like moths to the flame. The overall business culture especially in nightlife attracts these guys remember one of the owners of liquid was a home invader and car thief. That spots jinxed. This is not going to be the last of this type of sleezoid. Overall it's a sleazy business so who's really surprised

eeeetmeeee
eeeetmeeee

looks like a good opportunity for a true business person to pick this club up and make a good go of it. If I was interested in living in Miami, I would have this place humming by next week. Looks as though most work is done,and just cut your take for a few months to pay those who have legit claims.

Stephanlottier
Stephanlottier

just go over to france and take that money out of his freaking ass.give him the beatdown this guy has coming to him.he is a scumbag punk who does not belong in miami.

Victorhugogallery
Victorhugogallery

I, Victor-Hugo Vaca Jr., totally agree with Mr. Maji Vines. For the record, Julien Manival claims - "he already paid Hugo $3,000 -- more than enough considering his mural was two weeks late."- which is not all all true. Chuck Strouse should note that any respectable editor can verify this false statement by simply Googling: Shock Nightclub Grand Opening. Photos of the event show a completed 5,000 square foot mural, ironically titled, "Don't Be A Dick" as well as Julien Manival, Nick D'Annunzio & guests posing in front of my paintings entitled, "KUNT", "Titty Harvest", "Flow" & "Fearless". No respectable artist in the world would believe that such work, talent and materials is worth that amount of money. Michael Miller should have fact checked that in truth Julien Manival did not give Victor-Hugo $3,000.00 as he claims, rather he gave me a bad JPMorgan CHASE Bank check that bounced. If this sort of exploitation of artists and talent is allowed to perpetuate, it will surely lead to the decline of South Beach's worldwide reputation as a harbor of good vibrations.

Globalmarketingalliance
Globalmarketingalliance

European Nightclub Impresario visits the gallery of Victor-Hugo Vaca Jr at the recommendation of a big name in the South Beach scene. The artist is contracted to provide the artistic decor for Shock Nightclub. It becomes a priority over everything- - - what a fabulous project - - - a dream team of artists, sound technicians, lighting to rival Vegas, an amazing mixologist, industrious magicians that could do anything! Working through weeks of midnights, the artist with me as his assistant was as amazed as the day crew to witness what appeared on over 5000 square feet of wall space. The team is very proud of the work at Shock. Some facts to correct: The check from Julien Manival's Odyssee Group LLC to Victor-Hugo for $ 2662 bounced. The artwork was completed in time for the opening complete with the many additional requests of Manival and exceeded all expectations, including our own. Exploitation such as this cannot not be tolerated. It is my hope that the readers will have the opportunity to visit and experience this amazing work and truly beautiful club for themselves. Karma will deliver reward to those who contributed and are so deserving.

Maji Vines
Maji Vines

This punk mutha Fuga has no respect for the artist and industry alike. He is the virus that causes negativity in a scene that is all about positivity for the masses. Its important that we exploit this kind of behavior and unionize on its evaporation so it never happens agin. Everyone deserves a great night out of entertainment without anyone from entertainer to consumer having a bad experince.. Understand,Maji Vines

Sammy
Sammy

Wow....sad that people got taken advantage of.

IBlameBrito
IBlameBrito

lol, no respectable artist with paintings entitlted 'KUNT' and 'Titty Harvest' anyway....

Michael Miller
Michael Miller

@Victor Hugo and Global Marketing Alliance:To clarify, the article says that Manival claims he paid Hugo $3,000. The article also makes it clear that some of Manival's checks bounced and that Hugo feels he is still owed the full sum of $20,000.Michael MillerMiami New Times

Christine Alfonso
Christine Alfonso

The judgment that went into accepting this commission: #1) a recommendation by Gerry Kelly, a respected South Beach Nightclub Impresario, with a past history of success with Victor-Hugo #2) the visit of the management team with a smooth presentation, #3) a signed contract, #4) a deposit, #5) an illustrious team of professionals including the Queen of the Night Tara Solomon and #6) the desire to express oneself as an artist using such a unique canvas and to create a groundbreaking new artistic style on what at 5000 square feet is probably the largest texted mural - - numbers 1 through 5 are pure business, however, it is number 6 that underscores the exploitation of creativity and the theft of an original and important work of art historically. We must all hope that artists continue to persevere as catalysts for provocative thought and progress.

MakingMoneyOffFunOfOthers
MakingMoneyOffFunOfOthers

that's the problem, it's a sketchy business to begin with. And I thought Gerry Kelly had some recent club issues up in Hallandale.

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