Members of Atlanta's gay community are still in shock over the senseless death of a co-owner of the popular gay club Traxx.

Durand Robinson, 50, (pictured above left) was found lying in the middle of a street with a gunshot wound to the chest in the early morning hours of August 25th. A resident on Hadlock Street on Atlanta's southwest side, called police at 1:23 a.m. to report sounds of a "commotion" followed by gunfire and a car speeding off.

An hour earlier, Robinson had attended a board meeting near midtown with other Traxx Atlanta partners to plan for the upcoming Black Gay Pride Week.

Although Robinson helped organize many gay events over 20 years, he was quick to let anyone know that he wasn't gay.

He often talked about his grown daughter, publicist Wynter Robinson, and the five nieces he helped raise. And Wynter always praised her father for his endless patience in raising the girls.

Although Robinson will be remembered as a peaceful and gentle man, a history of violence permeates the Traxx Atlanta firm that he was a partner of. Out of the 5 original partners of Traxx Atlanta, 3 have met violent deaths.

In the early 90s the Warehouse on Marietta street in downtown Atlanta was a popular Saturday night destination for thousands of young gay men (and a few lesbians) looking for a night of fun and adventure.

In those days the club was managed by David Hampton, a warm and personable 20-something college grad, who brought in close friends Phillip Boone (pictured above right) and Durand Robinson to help him run it. The Warehouse was owned by James H. Mason, a businessman whose connections to the Atlanta drug underworld ran deep.

Rumors abounded that the cavernous 3-story Warehouse was a front for laundering drug proceeds. It was no secret that one of the Warehouse's silent partners, a money man named Julius Cline, was a notorious cocaine dealer from Detroit.

Cline was a boisterous young man whose loud laugh often signaled his arrival at the nightclub. According to court documents, Cline invested over $100,000 in the Warehouse and other nightclubs he co-owned in Atlanta.

Unlike Mason, Boone and Hampton, who were more reserved and laid back, Cline was a show off who flashed thousands in cash, drove fancy cars and wore expensive platinum and diamond jewelry way before Jay Z and Puffy Combs made "bling" a part of our vernacular.

Cline was the first to die. According to Detroit police, Cline was gunned down on July 25, 1992 during a shootout on a Detroit street. He died of multiple gunshot wounds, and police later classified his murder as drug-related.

The news of Cline's death swept through the Warehouse crowd and left his business partners shaken. But Cline's death barely registered a blip in the Atlanta Journal newspaper.

With their money man dead, Mason, Hampton and Boone tightened their belts and kept the Warehouse doors open despite money problems.

Then in 1993, Mason, along with former Atlanta attorney and judge Fred Tokars, were indicted on numerous racketeering, drug, and money laundering charges.

Tokars had hired another Mason associate, Eddie Lawrence, to murder his wife, Sara because she had uncovered evidence of money laundering that threatened to do in Tokars (and his clients) if the evidence ever saw the light of day.

According to policemag.com -- in addition to the Warehouse, Tokars also helped to establish other trendy black clubs, such as Diamonds and Pearls on Cheshire Bridge Rd. and Deion’s Club 21 (owned in part by former Atlanta Falcons and Braves star Deion Sanders).

According to federal indictments, the bulk of Tokars's clients were drug dealers, and his main services was to help his clients launder drug money.

Sara Tokars was shot to death on Nov. 29, 1992 inside her SUV in full view of her two young boys. Her death made national headlines and altered the livelihoods of many of Tokars and Mason's associates.

Although Mason had nothing to do with Sara's murder, he found himself caught up in the wide net cast by the Feds who followed the drug money. Mason was later convicted and sentenced to roughly 16 years of hard time in a federal prison.

With Mason gone, the club's liquor license was transferred into Phillip Boone's name since he had a clean record (Durand, who also had a clean record, was not yet a partner in the Traxx firm).

That year Hampton and Boone became the owners of the Warehouse, which they officially renamed Traxx. Both men bristled at speculation that Traxx was still in the drug business. Together they worked hard to make Traxx a legitimate, respectable operation.

While the always cordial Boone greeted patrons at the front door of the expansive nightclub, Hampton stayed out of sight crunching the numbers in the back office. There were signs that Hampton was under heavy stress due to the financial strain brought on by the loss of the club's money men.

Even though the drug rumors persisted, there were never any indications that Hampton or Boone were anything other than the honest, pleasant, polite businessmen that they appeared to be.

Still, Hampton's violent death in late 1998 came as a shock to the gay community.

According to Atlanta police, Hampton burned to death in the back seat of his charred SUV which was found parked in a cemetary in broad daylight. He had been shot once and beaten so badly that both of his legs were broken.

The coroner's report noted evidence of smoke inhalation in Hampton's lungs, meaning he was still alive when his killer (or killers) poured a flammable liquid all over him and set him on fire.

Following Hampton's tragic death, Boone became the sole owner of Traxx. He then made Durand Robinson, and two other men, managing partners in the Traxx firm.

Hampton's untimely death -- which remains unsolved -- was just as mysterious back then as Durand's death is today. Durand was everything that his friends say he was: outgoing, overly friendly, always easy to smile -- but so was David.

Ask anyone who knew David Hampton what kind of man he was, and the accolades pour forth.

"Who would want to kill David?," we asked in 1998. "Who would want to kill Durand?," his friends ask each other today.

  • lakercrazy

    so sad people dont realize what a persons life is worth when u kill one person you are killing a big part of they family too but when u are dealing with drugs there is two wars out death or prison

  • lakercrazy

    **ways*** sawy

  • Ms. Thickness

    WOW...THATS SAD...HOW CAN YOU TAKE THE LIFE OF ANOTHER HUMAN BEING AND DONT FEEL ANY KIND OF REMORSE. IT DOESNT OR SHALL I SAY IT SHOULD MATTER WHAT THE PERSONS SEXUAL PREFERENCE IS. IF IT DOESNT CONCERN NOR INTEREST YOU THEN KEEP IT MOVING.

  • honeygrahm

    Wow I mean this reads like one of those racy novels. It is always a tragedy when someone loses their life at the hands on another man. RIP to the surviving members of everyone who died senselessly.

  • T.Y’z Cha Cha

    So sad and unfortunate :/

  • T.Y’z Cha Cha

    Good Morning Thickness (cute Gravi by the way) you working that outfit girl!!! Lets get it one time :danban:

  • Nika405

    Boone did it!

  • LuvMySailor

    SMH

    I never understand why someone would take a life that is not yours in the first place. May the Lord bring peace to his family and friends

  • http://myspace.com/necee518 yvonne79

    Damn! That's one hell of a story....

  • lacountrygirl

    Damn.

  • Ace

    wow...

    this was an enjoyable...but very sad post....read like an episode of the Wire.

    I honestly think the past of "The Warehouse" has more to due with the recent death then anything Durand did. I think Debts of past owners just transferred forward..and people wanted there money.

    Cline was the money man....he probably had some nasty people fronting him for he lifestyle...when he died he probably owed those same violent people. that debt transferred over to the other owners who failed to settle the debt ...and there are people in the world that don't send past due notices in the form of a letter. still tragic..

  • Anna

    yvonne79 says:

    Damn! That’s one hell of a story….
    ~~~~~~~~
    Sure is. Who would want to watch their back for all those yrs. This sounds less of a (gay) hate crime but too much illegal activity going on. Money laundering, how can you kill a mother in front of her two young sons? Now that is the rifest of all trife.

  • http://sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    lakercrazy says:
    so sad people dont realize what a persons life is worth when u kill one person you are killing a big part of they family too but when u are dealing with drugs there is two wars out death or prison
    __________________

    Please read the story again. David, Phillip and Durand had nothing to do with drugs.

  • T.Y’z Cha Cha

    I came to apologize about my comment to Thickness... I dont want it to appear as I am insensitive. RIP Durand..Watch over your daughter and your neices!

  • Kat

    Damn.....

  • BROWNSUGAPOET

    This is a sad unfortunate case but I wouldn't be surprised if it's somethin one of them were involved in that no one knew about. I'm just waitin for the rest of the story to come out.

    Somebody call Sgt Mathin and get her on the case!

  • FloridaChick813

    Great write up Sandra :clap:

    But my condolences and prayers to the families of the lost ones!

  • http://sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    Ace says:

    wow…

    this was an enjoyable…but very sad post….read like an episode of the Wire.
    _________________________

    You should read the court documents about all the cases involving the Warehouse (aka the Phoenix, aka Traxx) dating back to 1992. I'm still reading. :pc:

  • http://myspace.com/necee518 yvonne79

    Anna says:

    yvonne79 says:

    Damn! That’s one hell of a story….
    ~~~~~~~~
    Sure is. Who would want to watch their back for all those yrs. This sounds less of a (gay) hate crime but too much illegal activity going on. Money laundering, how can you kill a mother in front of her two young sons? Now that is the rifest of all trife.
    *******
    I agree! Based on what was written here, I believe innocent people caught up in mess that had NOTHING to do with them. It's sad and unfortunate people were murdered because of this mess. I am praying for the families affected by these tragedies. This sounds like an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. Dang, I am really showing my age...

  • http://twitter.com/eastpointvet eastpointvet

    damn so if somebody comes up to you to invest in traxx dont do it

  • Anna

    rifest=trifest.(she what I get for making up words).
    I agree w/Ace this was nothing but old grudges carried over from outstanding debts.

  • Dawn

    Thank you Sandra for taking the time to thoroughly address Mr. Robinson's untimely passing. I was born and raised in the city of Atlanta and I remember what Atlanta used to be compaired to how it is now. I also remember the club scene during the days of the Warehouse and when Traxx was off not far from Ralph McGill Blvd. I remember Phillip from the Warehouse (He's such a nice guy) and I can only imagine what he in addition to Mr. Robinson's family are going through. I'm also glad you mentioned Fred Tokars as I remember that whole ordeal as well. As a supporter of the LGBT community my heart bleeds for those directly and indirectly affected by yet another senseless act of violence.

    Again, thank you for this post!

  • aqtpie

    Wow just sad! R.I.P. Durand!

  • http://myspace.com/necee518 yvonne79

    BROWNSUGAPOET says:

    This is a sad unfortunate case but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s somethin one of them were involved in that no one knew about. I’m just waitin for the rest of the story to come out.

    Somebody call Sgt Mathin and get her on the case!
    ***************
    She'll show up with her hair and nails done all while rocking her fur :lol:

  • http://sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    FloridaChick813 says:

    Great write up Sandra
    __________________

    I wrote this in hopes that it will light a fire under the APD Cold Case unit so they get off their hineys and find David's killer. :( I knew both David and Durand from way back in the day (1992). But David's death was particularly horrific. :/

  • PAHairston

    Hello All. It's always sad to read about senseless deaths in our community, in any community. RIP Durand, RIP.

  • laterthannever

    Great piece, Sandra. My condolences to the family. The daughter that you linked seems to be taking it extremely well at least.

  • http://sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    Dawn says:

    Thank you Sandra for taking the time to thoroughly address Mr. Robinson’s untimely passing. I was born and raised in the city of Atlanta and I remember what Atlanta used to be compaired to how it is now.
    ______________________

    I remember as well. Things have changed a lot - especially the gay scene. That's why I don't claim it. Gay men were soooo nice in those days! It was nothing for us females to party at the Warehouse with the guys. They welcomed us with open arms! Even though I was such a PEST, David, Phillip and Durand still let me in the club every weekend for free. Now, lesbians are not made to feel welcome in gay men's club. Gay men are not nice like they were in those days. That's why everybody is raving about how nice Durand was because people aren't nice like that anymore. :/

  • BROWNSUGAPOET

    we'll see if Nancy Grace has this on her show tonight! I doubt it!!

  • lakercrazy

    @sandra well if there was drugs in the club the owners /manager knew about if not sorry for the misunderstanding i will read again

  • Divinebrown

    Man oh Man...I read a little bit about this already. That is heart wrenching. My condolences to the family of the deceased.

  • dcwife1622

    Wow...R.I.P.

    Sandra this was a great read even thought the content was sad... :(

  • Divinebrown

    Sidenote: I've been to a "male" gay bar a few times in Ohio. It was just like a regular club. You had your couples, the folks there just to chill, and the resident skanks trying to get booty for the night.

    I made the comment : It's all men in here.

    The hoe said: "NUH UH, girl....IT'S ALL BICHES IN HERE!" I will never forget that. We had a ball up in there with them!

  • crzasallgetout

    Fred Tokars

    I saw this story on ID and another show. So sad

  • crzasallgetout

    oops the Tokars story not Durand's story. But RIP to Durand.

  • crzasallgetout

    @ Divine
    I've been to one gay club and had a blast. I was shocked when a dude tried to holler at me though. I told him I like MEN and he said I am a man. LOL. I told him nah I like Men that like ONLY women not both. :)

  • mirsmommy

    :blink: Wow. Seems like some folks just got caught up in other folks' mess. Damn shame what they did to the Mom in front of her two babies. :sad:

  • Dawn

    Sandra Rose says:

    "Gay men were soooo nice in those days! It was nothing for us females to party at the Warehouse with the guys. They welcomed us with open arms!"

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sandra, I smile as I think back to the "good ole days" SMH @ how times have changed... how people have changed. I remember it when everyone was welcomed with open arms and your right gay men used to be soooo nice! They would "honey chile" you and we would all party the night away... *sigh* I miss those days... Perhaps this unfortunate turn of events will prompt a mood change and just maybe Pride will include fun w/o violence even if only in honor of those who work(ed) so hard to put the event together.

  • CHARBEE1

    RIP TO MY COUSIN JULIUS.

    SO SAD THAT ALL THESE GUYS WERE MURDERED.

    THINGS ARE JUST NOT THE WAY THEY USED TO BE.

  • KK76

    Senseless.

  • Divinebrown

    @crzasallgetout...that sounds about right. lol My best friend has a gay friend and he is always grabbing my boobs. Coming up from behind, grabbing them and grinding, motor boating and all types of wild stuff. lmaoooooo!!!

    And he does it everytime I see him, too. I have no valid explaination for either. But, I think it's FUNNY AS HAIL!!

    Other than that....I kept getting compliments about my boots. That's how I knew the rest of them were surely gay. :rofl:

  • musicluvher

    Sandra this is why people keep coming back because you are a true journalist!!!

    RIP Durand
    I remember the Fred Tokars story and The Warehouse but I never knew how deep the situation was. Great write up!!!

  • crzasallgetout

    :rofl: Yep when they compliment your style then most def they are gay. I went to something called Sip & stroke here the other day and a dude was with who I THOUGHT was his girl. First he said he he wanted CANARY yellow. Second, he said he wanted to add ACCENTS to his painting. I was sure then he was gay. LOL.

  • BROWNSUGAPOET

    Divine I had a gay friend that was the same way about my boobs and I think he was obsessed with mine because he wanted some like mine so bad

  • BLACKBARBIE404

    SENDING MY CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY & TO WYNTER. I MET HER YEARS AGO, SHE'S A NICE GIRL.

    SUCH AN UNTIMELY DEATH.

  • iciaantica

    This is truly sad. Rest In Peace.

  • MsMia

    Good Morning everyone! This is so sad.
    Hi Sandra I would like to read those court documents. Where can I view them? I'm looking online but cant seem to locate them.

  • Divinebrown

    crzasallgetout....ummmm yea. He's def got some tendencies. RED FLAG: specific shade of color. good eye good eye!!

    The painting: The jury is still out on that. I'll withhold judgement b/c males are stepping their interior decoration skills all the way up. But, If he has fancy hues of paint in his house...forget about it. lmao!!

    @Brown....I don't know, this guy maybe seriously conflicted. I think he's just attracted to the delicate nature of women. But physically attracted to men. But he makes is clear....he does not want to be a woman.

  • STAN4FL

    My condolences go out to his family and friends. Too many times lives are taken for senseless reasons.
    @ Sandra I have to commend you again on your journalistic talents. Have you thought about doing something outside of blogging?

  • T.Y’z Cha Cha

    :think: Is it me or does the guy on the right Phillip Boone reveal a striking resemblance to Lisa Rayes ex husband Michael Misick :shrugs:

  • Ms. Thickness

    HEY CHA CHA..THANKS FOR THE COMPLIMENT

  • Ebony

    :(

  • KrayZKat

    Very sad story. RIP bruh.

  • His_Mommy623

    whoa....thats terrible... RIP Durand

  • AWESOME ARSENAL

    @Divine and Brown
    When I was in school down south some friends and I went to Memphis and ended up in a gay club. We drove down the strip and it was the only one that looked like it was crackin so we went in. Took me about 30 seconds before I realized and pivotted on both heels and got the hell up outta there.

    :ontopic: This story is sad but sounds like a great movie.

  • MOUTH

    This is so sad it sounds like a movie horrid.......

  • http://sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    MsMia says:

    Hi Sandra I would like to read those court documents. Where can I view them? I’m looking online but cant seem to locate them.
    ___________________

    Link to court documents (long read)

    Read here about Eddie Lawrence, who is still in prison under the federal witness protection program. His wife, who he married in 2005 in prison, wrote a book.

  • http://sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    STAN4FL says:

    @ Sandra I have to commend you again on your journalistic talents. Have you thought about doing something outside of blogging?
    __________________

    Thanks but I could never be a journalist. It took me almost 5 hours to write that one story. :/

  • http://mylifeinthesun782.blogspot.com Ms. Everything

    Smdh so sad... I pray they solve it and those who are guilty get their punishment in this life and after and the families/friends can find peace.

    Sandra you did a great job on writing this :clap:

  • my2cents

    Sandra Rose says:
    Thanks but I could never be a journalist. It took me almost 5 hours to write that one story.

    __________

    You did a wonderful job!!

  • http://charactercorner.blogspot.com attorneymom

    @Sandra, Do you have a death wish? Blank stare.

  • http://charactercorner.blogspot.com attorneymom

    Secrets Never Lie: The Death of Sara Tokars--A Southern Tragedy of Money, Murder, and Innocence Betrayed by R R. McDonald.

  • http://charactercorner.blogspot.com attorneymom

    Sidebar: Good job reporting, Sandra.

  • va_shawty

    Kudos to you Sandra. This was most informative! :clap:

  • BNix82

    :newbie:

    Thanks Sandra for writing this article. David Hampton was my cousin, so this article really hit home for me. I also hope that this will spark a fire somewhere and maybe someone will come fourth with more information that will help provide us with some closure.
    RIP!
    Sandra keep up the great work!

  • http://sandrarose.com Sandra Rose

    BNix82 says:

    Thanks Sandra for writing this article. David Hampton was my cousin, so this article really hit home for me.
    __________________

    David was a really nice guy. He once gave me the keys to his VW Beetle because I needed to dash home for something and my car was blocked in. We all miss him. :(

    I have so many questions about the current case. I don't understand why the police haven't released the make and model of Durand Robinson's missing car yet. I recall him driving a Mercedes CLK. And why was he in a quiet residential neighborhood getting carjacked? What was he doing there? They said he was abducted from Greenbrier mall. Well Greenbrier mall is closed at that time of night, so why he on Hadlock Street? I don't believe that story. I also don't believe it was a random carjacking. I believe he went to that neighborhood looking for something or someone. You don't argue with carjackers, you argue with someone you know. :/

  • http://charactercorner.blogspot.com attorneymom

    Perhaps it could have been a lovers quarrel, not a carjacking. Either way the shooter wanted him dead. :-(