The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the license of Social Gathering Palace Corp at 3405 33rd Avenue in the Bronx today. The suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a meeting of the Full Board on Wednesday, May 16th. Effective immediately, no alcohol may be sold or consumed on the premises.
On April 28th, officers with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) responded to the location after reports of numerous parking violations. Upon arrival, Social Gathering Palace security staff requested assistance from officers in breaking up brawls that had broken out throughout the catering hall. Officers had to call additional units from the neighboring precinct, in addition to the Emergency Services Unit, for assistance in breaking up fights that broke out in the bathrooms, on stage, on the dance floor, and spilling out into the street. Four criminal court summonses were issued by NYPD officers.
On May 2nd, the SLA and NYPD conducted a joint inspection of the Social Gathering Palace after SLA investigators became aware of a “Cinco de Mayo” event advertised as open to the public. Catering hall licenses allow for the service of alcoholic beverages only at private events, not open to the public. During the inspection, the premises’ manager confirmed that she rents out the establishment to promoters to hold public events, and that she was unaware that this practice was a violation. SLA investigators later contacted the owner who was also unaware that catering licensees could not such events. Both the manager and the licensee also claimed no knowledge of the recent violent incidents at the establishment.
Just two weeks after the April brawl, on May 7th another violent altercation occurred on the premises. NYPD officers responded to a call for an assault at the Social Gathering Palace, with the establishment’s security guards again requesting assistance in controlling multiple fights that had erupted inside. According to a police referral, NYPD officers observed approximately 30 patrons engaged in a physical fight inside the premises, with patrons spilling outside onto the sidewalk. NYPD officers again had to call additional units for backup to vacate the premises and to control the disorderly crowd.
According to the NYPD, the Social Gathering Palace has become a drain on police resources, often requiring the deployment of additional units. The NYPD logged one-hundred-thirty-eight 911 and 311 calls to the establishment in the last year, as well as 178 complaints made to the NYPD for criminal incidents and ABC violations.
On May 11th, the SLA charged the Social Gathering Palace with eight violations of the ABC Law, including two charges for disorderly premises, failure to exercise adequate supervision and for becoming a focal point for police attention. The SLA has two pending disciplinary cases pending against Social Gathering Palace for charges operating a disorderly premises, becoming a focal point for police attention and failure to conform to their approved license.
“This licensee is seemingly oblivious to the violent incidents and rampant disorder that are occurring at her alleged catering business on a regular basis,” said Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano. “Her complete failure to supervise is not only dangerous to her patrons, but to her community, and I applaud the Authority for shutting down this establishment before anyone could be seriously injured.”
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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