SLA Issues Emergency Suspension for Spades Lounge in the Bronx
Security Guards’ Assault on Patron Leads to License Suspension Just Two Months After License Was Issued
Albany, NY – The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the license of Spades Lounge NYC LLC at 3392 Boston Post Road in the Bronx today. The suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan, and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a meeting of the Full Board on July 25, 2018. 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 July 8th, a patron was assaulted inside Spades Lounge by two security guards. According to the New York City Police Department (NYPD), during a promoted party at the premises that evening, a patron refused to pay the cover charge and engaged in a physical dispute with two bouncers, culminating with one bouncer stabbing the patron in the femoral artery with a pen knife while the other punched the victim.
NYPD report when they arrived on the scene, employees of Spades were uncooperative in the investigation. Additionally, no one from the licensed premises called 911 to report the incident. A patron later identified the security guards as the perpetrators and both were arrested and removed from the scene. NYPD officers later discovered both bouncers were unlicensed, with one having a prior felony conviction for manslaughter.
NYPD conducted an inspection at the premises and found two additional unlicensed security guards and issued a disorderly premise summons for a large brawl that occurred inside the lounge after the stabbing, as well as additional summonses for fire safety violations.
On July 7th, the NYPD report a shooting occurred a block down the street from Spades Lounge. Police received reports that a dispute earlier that evening inside Spades Lounge led to the shooting, with officers recovering four shell casings on a residential street nearby. After the shooting, a brawl involving approximately 100 patrons broke out directly in front of the licensed premises, requiring police to call for eight additional cars to dispel the large crowd.
According to the NYPD, the licensee is causing a drain on police resources, requiring frequent directed patrols due to the large, unruly crowds outside. Since the lounge opened in May, the NYPD has had several meetings with the licensee to advise the owners on providing adequate supervision of the premises.
On June 20th the SLA charged Spades Lounge with 17 violations of the ABC Law, including for operating a disorderly premises, failure to supervise, employing unlicensed security guards and for becoming a focal point for police attention. Additionally, the licensee was charged with operating as a nightclub in violation of its stated method of operation to operate as a restaurant.
“Despite numerous warnings and advice from the police, this licensee continued to operate this establishment in an incredibly reckless manner and allowed a victim to suffer serious injuries at the hands of his employees,” said Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano. “The violent incidents that have occurred in the bar’s very first months of operation have made it clear this licensee has no desire, or is simply incapable of operating a safe, lawful establishment.”
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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