A troubled east Bronx bar is switching legal horses in mid-stream.
The Pompeii Bar and Lounge is no longer represented by attorney Stuart Klein in its ongoing fight with the State Liquor Authority to save its license.
Five police officers were ready to testify at the Friday, June 8 hearing on two disorderly premises charges against the bar, in the Waterbury-LaSalle community.
“Changing attorneys in the middle of a trial is foreboding for any business, much less Pompeii,” said Senator Jeff Klein (no relation to Stuart Klein), who wants the bar, at 3133 E. Tremont Avenue, finally closed. “I will leave it for the administrative law judge to decide. But for now, my office will continue to keep a close eye on Pompeii, as well as its trial before the State Liquor Authority.”
The case was moved to Wednesday, June 27, after Pompeii owner Jose Torres appeared before the judge to ask for a continuance while he looked for a new lawyer, said Annie Boller, a member of the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association, who was at the hearing.
Pompeii’s troubles escalated dramatically in April 2010 after a person believed to be a bar patron shot at an off-duty detective trying to break up a fight on the sidewalk near the bar.
Since then, the bar has been plagued by a litany of community complaints over noise and other quality-of-life issues, as well as SLA violations and code violations by city agencies.
“People come out of Pompeii drunk, assume that it is two o’clock in the afternoon instead of 2 a.m., and talk as loud as they want,” Boller complained.
“We are looking forward to finally having a resolution on this nightclub,” said fellow WLCA member Andrew Chirico. “The noise, the fighting, and the kind of clientèle they seem to attract suggests that they just don’t belong here.”
On Jan . 18, the judge in the case found Pompeii to have an adverse history – upholding at least eight SLA violations from 2010.
Neither Pompeii’s owner Torres or his former attorney Stuart Klein responded to phone calls for comment as of press time.
Senator Klein’s office said the police are ready to testify about two “disorderly premise” violations issued on March 6, 2011 and October 9, 2011.
It said it also plans to make the judge aware of more FDNY violations issued as part of a multi-agency operation earlier this year.
Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3393