October 3, 2019

SLA Issues Emergency Suspension for Jackson Heights Bar

SLA Issues Emergency Suspension for Jackson Heights Bar
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Stabbings, Assaults at NYC Hevillo Leads to Immediate License Suspension 

Albany, NY – The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the license of High Flying Birds Inc., doing business as “NYC Hevillo” at 78-14 Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights. The suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan, and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a meeting of the Full Board on October 2, 2019.  Effective immediately, no alcohol may be sold or consumed on the premises. During the suspension period the SLA intends to seek the permanent cancellation or revocation of the license.

On September 23, 2019, New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers responding to a 911 call found two victims with multiple stab wounds and another who had been severely beaten directly in front of the premises. Responding officers report finding the gates to the establishment closed and what appeared to be an attempted cleanup of the scene.  
On September 24, 2019, the SLA and officers from the 110th Precinct conducted a follow up inspection, uncovering a multitude of fire, health and SLA violations, including blocked fire exits, improper wiring and defective fire alarms and emergency lighting.  Additionally, the business was found to have no workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, was purchasing alcohol from an unauthorized source and operating as a nightclub, contrary to their approved method of operation as a restaurant. 
The NYPD reports responding to one-hundred-thirty-eight 911 calls over the last year, including sixty-seven for directed patrols, thirteen requesting an ambulance for injuries, and remainder for criminal activity.  The SLA has imposed $29,000 in fines for the bar since 2016 for violations including unlicensed bouncers, illegal gambling, and three sales to minors.            
On September 30, 2019, the SLA charged NYC Hevillo with twenty-seven violations, including operating a disorderly premises, inadequate books and records, excessive noise, purchasing alcohol from an unauthorized source, becoming a focal point for police attention and availing their license by turning over operation of the business to an undisclosed person.

“The repeated and increasing number of violent incidents at this establishment, combined with the failure to correct serious public safety issues, demonstrates that this licensee lacks concern for the safety or well-being of their patrons or their community,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “This emergency suspension should serve as a message that this agency will not hesitate to take immediate action when a bar poses a threat to public health and safety.”

The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a State agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action. When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations. In invoking a summary suspension, the SLA has deemed the violation to be sufficiently serious upon initial review to warrant an immediate suspension. The SLA’s decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination on the merits of the case. The licensee is entitled to an expedited administrative law hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. An order of summary suspension remains in effect until such time as it is modified by the SLA or a reviewing Court.


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