You’re Pardoned, Studio 54

While perusing the list of 270 pardons by President Barack Obama, looking past the newsmaking names of Chelsea Manning and Oscar Lopez Rivera, The New York Times noticed a person who had previously gone unnoticed: Ian Schrager, the former owner of Studio 54.

– Ian Schrager

Schrager’s conviction in 1980 on felony tax evasion charges was the final nail in the coffin of the Disco Era. His famed club, with its cocaine-sniffing moon sculpture and its anything-goes attitude, personified the ’70s disco lifestyle.

With that came bags of money, stashed in trash bags and ceiling panels. Schrager is credited today with owning some of the most expensive residential real estate in Manhattan and helping to invent the concept of boutique hotels, yet that conviction was a blot. He wasn’t that concerned with a presidential pardon, but it helped.

“I was able to overcome everything by being tenacious and, I suppose, relentless, and having successful products,” he told the NYT, “It wasn’t something that I needed to continue business.”

He said he hired a law firm four years ago to apply for the pardon. “I wanted it for closure. I wanted it for my family,” he said. “It’s hard to be a good example for your kids when you did something like what I did, and you try to teach your kids to live by the rules and be an upstanding person.”