Party’s Over: SLA Suspends M2’s Liquor License

M2 and its sister club Pink Elephant were closed by the city, then reopened, and then promptly closed again when the NYPD had problems with security at an official NFL Draft party last week. Now the SLA has announced, via a press release, that it has issued an emergency suspension of the club’s liquor license owing to “at least fifteen separate fights” and “eleven documented incidents of illegal drug activities” in the past year. Here’s the release.

Numerous Fights, Drug Sales and Unlawful Activity Leads to Emergency Suspension

New York, NY -New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) officials today seized the liquor license of the 530 West 28th Street LP & Paradigm Management LLC, or the “Pink Elephant” also known as “M2” at 530 West 28th Street in New York City. The license was confiscated following a vote by the Members of the State Liquor Authority for an Emergency Summary Suspension during meeting of the Full Board on Wednesday April 28, 2010.

The decision to suspend the license is based on numerous violent incidents, disorders and drug sales occurring at the premises. The club has become a focus of police attention and a drain on department resources, as the NYPD have been repeatedly summoned to the club to break up fights, investigate drug sales, and respond to other illegal activities. Since July 2009, there have been at least fifteen separate fights at the M2, including instances where club bouncers assaulted patrons and incidents where NYPD officers were injured. In addition, over the past year and a half there have been eleven documented incidents of illegal drug activities at the M2, including sales and use of cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana at the club. Citing the persistent and continuing pattern of illegal activities, the Members of the SLA, Chairman Dennis Rosen, Commissioner Jeanique Greene, and Commissioner Noreen Healey, voted for an emergency suspension of the license. Effective immediately, no alcohol can be served or consumed on the premises.

“This emergency suspension is another demonstration of the SLA’s recognition that City residents should not have to tolerate reckless licensees that break the law, disturb the peace and threaten public health and safety,” said SLA Deputy CEO Michael Jones. “The Members of the Liquor Authority continue to show they will not hesitate to take immediate and decisive action to close down dangerous clubs.”

Previously, the SLA imposed a $5,000 civil penalty and a seven day suspension on the licensee on October 22, 2005 for selling to minors and a $2,500 civil penalty for an unlimited drinks violation on September 9, 2005. In 2006, the SLA fined the club $6,000 for several violations occurring in 2004.

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 hearing before an administrative law judge to address the alleged violation(s) that led to the suspension. An order of summary suspension remains in effect until such time as it is modified by the State Liquor Authority or reviewing court.

The State Liquor Authority regulates and controls the manufacture, sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages within the state. The Authority works with local law enforcement agencies and localities across the state to ensure compliance with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. In addition, the Authority issues and renews licenses and permits to manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers of alcoholic beverages.

Clarification: A lawyer for Paradigm Entertainment and Pink Elephant tells us that Paradigm Management Group,LLC and Pink Elephant are not affiliated with the current management (according to the attorney, a management agreement was terminated in September of 2009 and the owners of M2 were instructed to move Paradigm and Pink Elephant from the liquor license. A few months later, after lawsuits resulted in a settlement, M2 is said to have agreed to cease using the name “Pink” in reference to its adjoining sister club. “Paradigm/Pink Elephant was shocked to learn that their names had not been removed from the license and immediately took action with 530’s counsel in order to have this error corrected.” We’re told that none of the allegations involved the previous management.

Party’s Over: SLA Suspends M2’s Liquor License