Sam Moore, owner of Velvet in Shockoe Bottom, has been getting a lot of press lately. If you prescribe to the “any press is good press” motto, then Velvet has been getting way more attention than his Hummers and rooftop spotlights could ever give him.
Take the following articles in the RTD as examples: Example #1 (2/26/08), Example #2 (2/27/08), Example #3 (2/28/08). That’s a lot of coverage… (edit: AND there’s another article in this morning’s RTD, on the front page no less!) [new edit (7/31/10): most of those RTD links are dead now, but here are some from that same time-frame that are live — 2/25/08 & 2/24/08]
I don’t know Sam in any personal or business sense, so I don’t have any way to know if he deserves the bad rap he’s been getting lately. It does, however, seem awfully suspicious that as soon as the news breaks that he is looking to open a Hooters-style restaurant in the old Julians building (2/13/08), his business in Shockoe Bottom is raided and everything hits the fan.
The overly anxious coverage of the charges against Sam Moore reminds me of the equally eager coverage of Nat Dance over the years of Nat Dance and Club 534 and Club Cotton. (The latest example can be read here.) Now I’m not saying this is a conspiracy by the newspaper, or even that the paper is in on it. Rather, I think that there is a force behind it whose hand is bluntly obvious, even if the players involved aren’t.