March 7, 2019
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Albany, NY

SLA Issues Emergency Suspension for Opus Lounge

SLA Issues Emergency Suspension for Opus Lounge
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Albany, NY – The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the license of 417 W Inc., doing business as “Opus” at 417 West 202nd Street in Manhattan. The suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan, and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a meeting of the Full Board on March 6, 2019.  Effective immediately, no alcohol may be sold or consumed on the premises. During the suspension period the SLA intends to seek the permanent cancelation or revocation of the license.

 

On February 20, 2019, following a verbal altercation directly outside Opus, a bouncer struck a patron over the head with a flashlight, knocking the victim unconscious, resulting in a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.  Surveillance video later obtained by the NYPD shows the manager of the bar escort the bouncer who committed the assault away from the scene moments before officers with the 34th Precinct arrived.  The bouncer was eventually arrested nearly a week after the incident on February 26th, charged with felony assault. 

 

This incident is just the latest in a series of violent incidents emanating from Opus, with the NYPD receiving one-hundred-twenty-eight 911 calls to the establishment since January of 2018.  On December 1, 2018 NYPD officers responded to a disorderly crowd of approximately 100 patrons exiting Opus, with physical altercations breaking out directly outside the establishment.  In the process of breaking up the altercations, an NYPD officer was injured requiring emergency medical treatment.  On September 28, 2018, a joint inspection of the premises by the SLA and the NYPD resulted in thirty violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) law, in addition to 16 summonses issued by the NYPD. 

 

“This club has become a drain police resources and poses a serious threat to the surrounding neighborhood,” said Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano.  “Most disturbing, the bar’s manager actively interfered with the police investigation and helped an assailant flee the scene following a felonious assault.”

 

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.

 

On the Web: www.sla.ny.gov

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