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SLA ISSUES EMERGENCY SUSPENSION FOR MANHATTAN BAR

The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) ordered an emergency suspension of PJ’s Cocktail Lounge at 2257 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan.  The suspension was ordered by the Members of the SLA, Chairman Dennis Rosen and Commissioner Jeanique Greene, at a special meeting of the Full Board on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.  Effective immediately, no alcohol can be served or consumed on the premises.  

The decision to suspend the license is based on several recent referrals sent to the SLA from the New York City Police Department (NYPD).  Most recently, on January 8, 2014 a patron was shot and killed during a confrontation inside the licensed premises.  The incident is part of a lengthy list of violent crimes reported to the SLA occurring at or directly outside the premises, including three shootings, six assaults, two thefts, one stabbing, one armed robbery, and multiple violations involving intoxicated patrons.  The SLA charged the bar with eighteen violations of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) law, including an attempted assault upon police officers, lack of supervision, and becoming a focal point for police attention.    

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, considering each licensee’s disciplinary history, 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 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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