Under new management.Photo: Carmen E. Lopez
It turns out there’s more to tell about the imminent closing of Lotus. Earlier this month, the State Liquor Authority leveled a staggering $40,000 in fines against the club and suspended its liquor license for 21 days. Papers we’ve obtained from the SLA indicate that the club was charged with a couple dozen violations from August of 2003 (operating as a cabaret without a license) to March 2007 (failing to conform with governmental regulations regarding security guards). The latter violation is surprising to us, since Lotus’s bouncers are notoriously strict about checking I.D.’s, but then again we’re not girls in Gucci. Other charges include allowing the premises to become disorderly, selling to minors, harboring a robbery, and operating under the name Lotus without permission (the name on the license is Lulu’s). A 2002 memo claims that “a sustained and continuing pattern of noise, disturbance, misconduct, and/or disorder has existed on and about the licensed premises.”
So what does Lotus owner and tireless defender of the nightlife industry David Rabin have to say? Rabin writes us:
We had a number of outstanding violations with the SLA, some dating back SEVEN years but most from 2005. It has taken a long time for them to be adjudicated by the SLA. Our counsel felt that we’d win a lot of them and lose some of them if they all went to hearings, but, that resolving them individually would have cost a lot of money in legal fees and an indefinite period of time because the SLA requires resolution of all outstanding matters before any license modification. So, we offered a settlement to clear all the past violations and it was accepted. We thought dealing with it in an overall manner was the most efficient decision for moving forward with the JV [joint venture], and the timing works well for us to start our permit and demolition process.
Whoa, whoa, whoa — demolition process? Sounds like a major overhaul of the club is planned. We’ve heard from more than one operator that the city has been easing up on its crackdown on nightlife — here’s hoping, for the sake of Rabin and his new partners, Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum, that the reigns are even looser by the time the new place opens.