Gianaris Calls To Shut Down Violent Men’s Club
State Senator Michael Gianaris, local officials and neighborhood residents came out fighting last week, after a state court issued a hold on an order issued by the State Liquor Authority (SLA) that denied renewal of a liquor license to a violence-prone men’s club in Long Island City.
Senator Gianaris, local police and Community Board 1 (CB1) officials petitioned the SLA numerous times since early 2015, urging the agency to deny renewal of a liquor license to the ACES New York Gentlemen’s Club, based on the establishment’s history of violence and its failure to pay massive fines issued by city and state agencies.
The SLA last week advised CB1 and local police that the agency was canceling the ACES liquor license as of March 9th. But before the ink dried on the notice, club management opposed the SLA decision and a state judge issued a stay. The matter will be decided during an April 5th court hearing, an SLA spokesperson said.
Gianaris, CB1 and officials at the 114th Precinct are now aiming to shut down ACES, with Gianaris saying the club is “teeming with criminal activity.”
ACES has racked up 251 calls to the 911 system since it opened at 32-10 37th Avenue in Dutch Kills, Gianaris said. Recent reports from the NYPD’s 114th Precinct “indicate a disproportionate number of disturbing incidents come from this establishment, including gang-related shootings, arrests and summonses.”
A violent dispute between two Bronx street crews ended in gunfire outside ACES in the early morning hours of May 14th, 2016, police said. Members of the Bloods street gang struck a bouncer in the head with a beer bottle when he tried to escort the troublemakers to the street, police said. A club patron was shot in the foot during the melee, and the suspects fled toward a subway station on nearby Northern Boulevard.
“ACES is notorious for such ongoing, troubling activity,” Gianaris said. “Residents deserve to live in a community where they feel safe, with a robust quality of life. It’s time we get rid of this bad adult establishment once and for all, and apply our resources toward protecting our schools, small businesses and families.”
Police officials said the club is heavily monitored. Officers at the 114th Precinct have patrolled outside ACES 182 times since the club opened almost 15 months ago.
Officers were dispatched to the club on at least 61 occasions in that same time period, in response to assaults, threats of violence, drunken patrons, stolen property complaints, violent outbreaks, harassment, trespassing, property damage and lesser complaints, police said.
Police officials at the 114th Precinct orchestrated a multi-agency raid at ACES on May 20th, 2016, where club owners were slapped with 58 violations and notified of several licensing issues that resulted in the temporary shutdown of the violent nightspot.
Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune, Commanding Officer of the 114th Precinct, said the one common factor in clubs like ACES is that the violence that spills from the clubs has nothing to do with the surrounding communities. Fortune said he finds it “troublesome” that the violence is always sparked by people who do not live in the area.
Police officials said ACES is one of many clubs that has opened in residential neighborhoods in New York City, that buys performances from promoters and that pays big bucks for venues located close to public transportation. “The promoters don’t care about the reputation or history of violence associated with the clubs or the performers,” police officials said. “They sell the performances to greedy club owners who don’t give a flip about the neighborhood, and are only looking to cash in on large profits.”
ACES opened in January 2016, after the city forced the owner of Club Systems to shut down at the location. When ACES applied for a liquor license in December 2015, Community Board 1 sent a letter to the SLA that detailed violent incidents at Systems, and requested the agency to deny the alteration of the name on a new liquor license. The SLA issued a liquor license to ACES under the name Systems, authorities said. The move backfired on ACES during the May 2016 raid, when the club was cited for failure to obtain a new liquor license under the name ACES New York. “The Club Systems name still appeared on a number of municipal permits and licenses, a law enforcement source said. “The owners were told it had to change.”
“Additionally, ACES did not comply with its cabaret license in 2016,” Gianaris said in a March 10th letter to the SLA. “The establishment failed to display its license, post warning signs, and employed unlicensed security guards, among numerous other violations.
Gianaris said he “prefers the location no longer be used to support establishments detrimental to the neighborhoods’ quality of life.”