When the owners of New York City’s Studio 54 were indicted on federal income tax charges in 1979, Mark Fleischman knew he was next in line to take over the infamous nightclub.
“Studio 54 was the most famous club in the world during the late ‘70s and I knew it,” Fleischman recalled to Fox News. Fleischman eventually became the owner of the hotspot. He recently released his memoir, “Inside Studio 54,” which details the rise and fall of Manhattan’s champagne and cocaine-fueled lair.
“I was a patron there and I loved it,” he explained. “Then I heard Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell were busted. I followed the newspapers and I had the sense that their liquor license wasn’t going to be renewed… They needed a new owner. So, I contacted their lawyer and he arranged for me to visit them [in Manhattan Federal Prison]… I had a clean reputation and figure I could get a liquor license. In jail, they questioned me very carefully about my background and whether I could actually get a license.”
Fleischman managed to impress the weary business partners and that year, a deal was made. However, Studio 54 wouldn’t reopen until September 1981 after Fleischman, in fact, struggled to get a liquor license.
“New York didn’t want Studio 54 to reopen,” he claimed. “I went through three to four different attorneys.”
But the wait was well worth it. Like the previous owners, Fleischman focused on having nearly every celebrity in Hollywood party the night away and even encouraged a new generation of stars to let loose.