- Photo by Lance Yamamoto
- The Oakland music venue is scheduled to close for renovations in July.
As more evidence emerges linking club owner Jason Perkins to written threats left at a homeless encampment, business partner Michael O'Connor detailed the dissolution of Parish Entertainment Group and new ownership at New Parish in an interview with the Express.
Video surfaced earlier this month showing a February altercation between Perkins and a homeless man in San Francisco that appeared to tie the Brick & Mortar co-owner to threatening letters left at a nearby encampment. Shortly thereafter, a former employee of Perkins named David Palmer shared screenshots of text exchanges in which Perkins appears to take credit for the notes. Perkins denied leaving the notes to the Express, calling Palmer "disgruntled."
Days after the Express broke news of the allegations online, the website for the Parish Entertainment Group — previously encompassing Bay Area venues and bars the New Parish, Brick & Mortar Music Hall, the Crafty Fox, and the Rock Steady — went offline. O'Connor said that the informal umbrella group has been dissolved.
O'Connor said he'll remain Perkins' partner at Brick & Mortar Music Hall, although Perkins will step back from day-to-day operations as he prepares to move overseas. Perkins will also retain his stake in the Crafty Fox, a business unrelated to O'Connor.
O'Connor, who declined to comment on the allegations, said that Perkins bought into the New Parish in 2012, but sold his stake to another investor months ago. According to filings with the Secretary of State, Perkins signed documents dissolving New Parish Entertainment Alameda LLC early last year. Earlier this month, attorney Daniel Serot created a new company called The New Parish LLC. In a phone call, Serot confirmed that his client, who bought out Perkins, is O'Connor's only partner in the venue.
"My client is simply buying out one of the partners," said Serot, who declined to name his client. "Mr. Perkins is not going to be involved with the New Parish going forward."
O'Connor also declined to name the new investor at New Parish, saying to expect an official announcement later this year, but said he's also a partner at The Independent.
O'Connor opened The Independent, separately from his dealings with Perkins, in 2003. His partner at the prominent San Francisco venue is Allen Scott, an executive at Another Planet Entertainment. APE operates venues and festivals including the Fox Theater, the Greek Theatre, and Outside Lands, and exclusively books The Independent. Two sources in the local talent-buying field said shows beginning in August at the New Parish, which is closing for renovations in July, are being booked through APE.
In February, notes addressed to "junkie mother fuckers" appeared at a homeless encampment near Brick & Mortar Music Hall. Cory, a camp resident, said he was pepper-sprayed when he confronted the man leaving the notes, according to activist Kelley Cutler. In leaked security footage, Cory can be seen striking Perkins' car window nearby. Perkins then exits the car and sprays Cory with what Perkins called mace.
"If you are still here after dark tonight, the hunters will become the hunted," the notes read. "We will pound you, burn you, beat you and fuck you up if you are within 100 yards of the park starting after sun down tonight." The letter was signed "The neighbors."
In a since-deleted Facebook post of Perkins' the day before the notes appeared, he used similar language. "I'm so so sick of the thieving junkie motherfuckers in SF. ... SFPD does jack as guys are hassling kids, trying to sell shit stolen out of someone's car and needles everywhere here in the Mission. ... SF is becoming like NYC in the 70's."
In texts to Palmer, which he shared with the Express (and which were first reported by the San Francisco Examiner), Perkins wrote, "I noticed the homeless coalition were a little upset by my little note," followed by a post from the Coalition on Homelessness.
Perkins denied leaving the notes, and doubted the authenticity of the screenshot, taken by this writer, showing his post the day before the messages appeared. "There's nothing to do with me and the fliers," he said. "People say I'm anti-homeless. I'm not — I'm pro-safety."
San Francisco police spokespeople confirmed they're investigating the February incident.
Following the allegations against Perkins, local artists Mare Island and the Acharis canceled their September concert at Brick & Mortar, and a June 24 benefit for anti-homelessness organizations in Oakland relocated from the New Parish to the Uptown Nightclub.
At first, the benefit organizers released a statement through the East Oakland Collective condemning Perkins' alleged actions but declining to cancel or move the show in light of his disinvestment from the business. That changed, EOC founder Candice Elder told the Express, after pushback from other activists. "We got wind the community was going to boycott the show — that a lot of activists we respect weren't going to come," she said.
Elder said they'd like to see an official statement from the New Parish confirming Perkins' disinvestment and denouncing his alleged behavior. "In these processes, it's best for businesses to be more transparent," she said. "That's how they regain confidence."