Bad permit,bad karma

Karma was recently shut down after Councilman Jimmy Vacca alerted the 49th Precinct that it was operating with an expired Public Assessment Permit. - Photo by Adam Bermudez

On the heels of Senator Jeff Klein’s various efforts to close the highly talked about and extremely controversial Karma nightclub, at 1907 White Plains Road, a recent discovery from Councilman Jimmy Vacca led to an unexpected closure of the establishment over the weekend.

On Monday, June 30, Vacca alerted the 49th Precinct that Karma’s Public Assembly Permit expired, asking if they’d visit the club to ensure legal abidance.

A July 5 visit subsequently found Karma active, and according to 49th Precinct Officer Chris Traumer, the facility was closed immediately.

For the first time since the club opened in November, Vacca said, “It was a quiet weekend.”

Though the doors are shut and crowds dispersed, Vacca said he knows it’s only a matter of time before Karma’s owner, Marcia Bridgett, files for another permit.

Even still, he said, “I’m keeping an eye on it, which is what I promised the community I’d do.” 

While his efforts serve as a short-term solution to an increasingly large issue, Vacca said it’s Klein’s efforts with the State Liquor Authority that may ultimately serve as the end of Karma’s bumpy road in the Bronx.

“My office is in regular contact with the State Liquor Authority as well as with the attorney representing the state in this matter, and we intend to pursue Karma to the fullest extent of the law,” Klein said.

Bridgett initially began her business pursuit at a Community Board 11 meeting in November, where she told the board she’d be opening a restaurant that would offer valet parking, with assurances the facility wouldn’t have dancing.

Despite letters from local officials to the SLA urging denial of her request, Bridgett was granted a liquor license.

It’s been chaos ever since.

“Residents in the Van Nest community are up in arms over the destruction this place has caused,” Vacca said.

Accounts of excessive noise and crude pubic behavior make up only a fraction of complaints that local elected officials have heard since the club’s inception, but a recent shooting over a month ago put the nightclub in the crosshairs of the community. 

“A good business is a good neighbor, and Karma has failed to meet the basic standards of openness and decency that the Morris Park community demands,” Klein said.

Working closely with SLA Deputy Commissioner Thomas O’Connor, Klein requested an investigation that led to a Notice of Pleading citing three violations against Karma. In response to the notice, on June 25, Bridgett entered a not-guilty plea.

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