Shawn MacArthur was in his home office working late into the night one Saturday when the sudden cacophony of more than four dozen racing motorcycles exploded outside his window.
“They just kept going back and forth — one, two, three o’clock in the morning,” MacArthur explained, incredulously.
While jarring, the incident did not come as a complete surprise to MacArthur, who by then had come to expect the unexpected when it came to Saturday nights in Radcliffe. This exclusive North Raleigh sub-division off Falls of the Neuse road just past the E.M. Johnson water treatment plant was host for nearly a year to the Metropolitan Lifestyle Mansion, a garish 24-room home turned no-rules suburban nightclub.
According to an injunction filed by the Radcliffe Homeowner’s Association against the mansion’s owners, Claude and Pamela Verbal, the lavish parties, which allegedly featured exotic dancers, bottle service and private cabanas, first began in July of 2012, and, in spite of a restraining order, continued through May 18, 2013.
A North Raleigh Party Mansion is Born
Although Claude Verbal originally purchased the property –10625 Marion Stone Way – in August of 2010 for $821,000, it was Pamela Verbal alone who moved into the mansion in the summer of 2012, at which time she was allegedly separated from Mr. Verbal, according to documents filed with Wake County Superior Court.
She soon began hosting events with themes such as “Lavish Beach” and “Eyes Wide Shut.” The parties were advertised with the slogan “What Happens at the Metropolitan Mansion Never Happened.”
MacArthur said he unwittingly attended one of the early events, believing it to be nothing more than a simple housewarming party. He first realized his mistake upon noticing the impromptu valet stand situated in the middle of the street. When he asked the cost, MacArthur said he was told it was $45 per car.
Upon reaching the house, MacArthur, 42, said he was made to sign a waiver indicating he was over 18 and show ID. The $10 entrance fee was waived because he was a neighbor. He then made his way into the party.
“So I walk back there and there’s all these, there’s all these 20-year-old hot chicks sitting in the pool, doing lap dances … I don’t know what the hell is going on, I’m like, freakin’ out, I’ve been married for 23 years,” he said.
“So I’m like, you know what, I’ll go get a drink, whatever.
“I go over to the bar and I’m like, ‘give me a Jack and Coke,’ and they’re like, ‘no problem, $12.’”
After someone pointed out that he was a neighbor, he said, all his drinks were on the house.
MacArthur eventually wandered inside the mansion, where he recognized a very distinct smell.
“What’s back there?” MacArthur recalls asking.
“Someone said, ‘That’s a Hookah room.’ I’m like, ‘they ain’t smoking hookah, that’s pot,’” he said.
“The lady just laughed, and was like, ‘You don’t want to go back there,’ so of course I [did] and they were smoking pot.”
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Neighbors “Terrorized” by Ongoing Parties
The injunction in Wake County Superior Court states that Radcliffe residents were subject to “a multitude of visibly intoxicated people, loud, profanity-filled music, and persons in various states of undress roaming around the neighborhood.”
“We were figuring just with cars, they could [gross] $30,000 a day, $10-$20,000 on entrance fees, $40-$80,000 on alcohol…” MacArthur said.
“It’s not a bad business, but it’s not a business I want around my little girls.“
The parties are allegedly in violation of covenants attached to the mansion’s deed, which prohibit business of any kind from being conducted on the property, and banned any activity that may be considered a nuisance to the neighborhood.
“The biggest thing I tell people is, it was like living next to the Playboy Mansion,” MacArthur explained.
Due to these ongoing issues, and an allegation that the Verbals owed more than $3,000 in homeowner’s association fees, the association decided to take them to court.
Parties Banned by Judge
On May 17, 2013 a Wake County judge issued a temporary restraining order effectively blocking the parties by banning Ms. Verbal from engaging in any future business on her property.
The next day, May 18, a “B Stacks MME Video Shoot Party” was held on the property, and, according to the injunction, included “professional film crews, deejays, security, catering and wait staff.”
The Record verified that tweets from rapper B Stacks, who was mentioned in the injunction, did indeed confirm the event took place.
MacArthur estimates the Metropolitan Lifestyle Mansion that Saturday drew in about 600 cars and more than 2,000 people to the two-street, 15-lot Radcliffe development.
MacArthur said a second party at the mansion, scheduled for Sunday May 19, was advertised on local a radio station. It was eventually rained out.
“We kinda hoped for [bad] weather on the weekends so that we wouldn’t have to deal with any parties,” MacArthur said. “It sucked.”
When the issue came before the court again, a judge found Pamela Verbal in contempt of the restraining order and temporarily incarcerated her on a $500,000 bond. The Wake County District Attorney’s office confirmed she is awaiting trial on the misdemeanor charge.
The Sound of Silence
On the evening of June 12, a bikini-clad Ms. Verbal answered the door of the mansion. She declined to make any comment on the issues surrounding the case and quickly shut the door.
Of the numerous promotional companies involved in these events, including Go Girl Entertainment, Casanova Entertainment, Black Linen Entertainment and more, only one, A-List Entertainment, responded to questions from the Record.
A spokesperson for the company, who asked that his name not be used, said when Ms. Verbal hired them, they were unaware of the ongoing conflict with the homeowner’s association. He also said his company provided a shuttle service, so that partygoers would not have to park in the neighborhood, and security, so that the party would not spill out beyond the mansion’s boundaries.
Messages left for a number linked to Claude Verbal also went unreturned.
On June 5, 2013, the Mansion was put up for sale, listing for about $2.9 million. According to county records, the Verbals currently owe more than $8,000 in taxes on the property.
The mansion is described as a 15,890-square-foot, six-bedroom, single-family home. In addition to other amenities, it boasts a game room, a hot tub, a pool, a bowling alley, an elevator, and, judging by one picture, what appears to be a stripper pole.
Although Pamela Verbal is still residing in the mansion, the parties appear to have stopped, at least for now. On a recent Saturday night – June 8 – there were only two cars in the driveway and no indications of any party.
MacArthur said he truly hopes this is the end of the parties. When they first began, he was leasing the home he owns now, a purchase he almost didn’t make because of them.
He fears there may be retaliation, as the events tended to draw what MacArthur described as a rough crowd – one that had to be frisked and patted down before entering the mansion. As a result, he said that he and the other two families living in the yet-unfinished subdivision have armed themselves for protection.
The Verbals’ Ongoing Legal Battles
The mansion’s covenant violations and subsequent contempt charges are not the only issues bringing the Verbals to court these days.
In a case filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the government alleges that Claude Verbal committed Medicare fraud through his health care business, Infinite Wellness Concepts, which has offices in Durham and Greensboro, and used the profits to buy luxury goods, including a men’s diamond watch, a custom black diamond cross chain and a 7-carat diamond ring.
The IRS seized these items, along with $765,000 from a checking account in the company’s name, as part of an ongoing investigation. The case cites a former employee of Mr. Verbal’s company, who indicated that Verbal was not only aware of the ongoing fraud, but was the main cause of it. The employee also stated that patients were frequently misdiagnosed so they could be billed at a higher rate. The government also claims to have evidence of Medicare charges for services that were never rendered at all. A response filed by Mr. Verbal’s attorney disputes these allegations.
A trial on the matter is set for April 2014.