Hearings Begin in SLA Suit Against EMM Group and Its Bowery Nightlife Complex

Posted on: January 27th, 2014 at 5:28 am by

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Finale, dancing through the decades without a cabaret license

EMM Group’s brazen attempt to legitimize their illegal operations at 199 Bowery are seemingly sidelined by the ongoing lawsuit brought by the State liquor Authority. You’ll recall that Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm (pka “Bakers Dozen Associates”) submitted an application to the Department of Consumer Affairs for a cabaret license and were set to appear before Community Board 3 earlier this month. But they withdrew. There are bigger fish to fry…

Last Wednesday was the first round of testimony before the SLA. From what we can gather, the hearing was a doozy. Deputy Commissioner of Licensing Dana Christian and Police Officer Eric Bonsignore (5th Precinct) delivered testimony about Finale’s litany of infractions.

In essence, Bonsignore’s testimony proved what neighbors have been saying all along. Mainly that Finale/The General/Jazz Room is a complete nuisance that needs reprimanding. The officer noted that the club carries the honorable distinction of being one of the seven most troublesome nightspots in the area, and that they have problems with purse-snatching. He said that the club maintained a poor track record of crowd control and keeping taxis from bottlenecking traffic outside on the Bowery. The precinct had received plenty of noise complaints from residents of 199 Bowery, but he claimed not to hear it when in the hallways or on the second floor terrace (this argument is skewed since he reportedly did not check through the apartments).

Ultimately, Bonsignore issued a summons for dancing inside Finale without a cabaret license. As per their stipulations signed in 2012 (and made a part of the license), the Lower Eastpackers can only allow dancing in the basement (if permitted by law). Never was there a mention of a ground-level club; only that The General would serve food all hours in the restaurant and basement, include ambient music, and that dancing not be allowed on the main level.

The hearings will continue on February 12, when it’s expected that lawyers will call SLA inspectors, residents from 199 Bowery, inspectors from the Mayor’s task force, and any other neighbors currently affected by the presence of EMM.

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