Pompeii owner on the defensive

Pompeii Lounge has been operating in Waterbury-LaSalle since the summer of 2009, and seems to have drawn little praise from the community.

The owner of Pompeii Lounge at 3133 E. Tremont Avenue, Jose Torres, has come out publicly to defend his lounge, prior to a hearing before the State Liquor Authority on Thursday, December 9, on the possible revocation of the lounge’s liquor license.

He denies his establishment is operating as a night club, and refuted many of charges that have been made against the community.

The hearing was called after Senator Jeff Klein wrote to the SLA chairman Dennis Rosen about Pompeii. The senator is receiving a good number of complaints from the community about quality-of-life issues. This includes people exiting Pompeii after 3 a.m. causing loud commotions on East Tremont, Coddington, and LaSalle avenues and complaints about lewd behavior outside of the club.

Torres said he is addressing community concerns that came to light following a shooting on the street near the lounge on April 10 that involved an off-duty police officer who intervened in a fight. Torres said that he is now being hounded by visits from various city agencies.

“The community concerns were legitimate concerns; we addressed each and every one,” Torres said. “But now, all of the agencies have come in, including the NYPD and FDNY, and have asked to see our permits. Their visits have been continuous. We haven’t had any time to work.”

Torres said that he is addressing neighborhood concerns by adding more security, making sure that his security team goes around the corner of each of the side streets to check to make sure that patrons leave in an orderly manner, and using an ID scanner.

He has also ended valet parking and a smoking section outside of the lounge to curtail congregating.

In response to Department of Buildings violations charging dancing without a cabaret license, he has posted no dancing signs at three locations around the lounge.

Torres said that a summonses that had been issued to him for a “disorderly” premise in September after a fight occurred outside of the club, has been dismissed. That fight involved an off-duty corrections officer who was a patron, he said.

Klein said that when the club originally filed its paperwork at the SLA before opening, its owner stated that they would be operating a sports lounge. He is calling on them to stick to their original business plan.

“From the day it opened, Pompeii has misled the community as to its method of operation,” Klein said. “Its owners have told the community and the State Liquor Authority it would operate as a sports lounge. That is not now nor has it ever been the case, and multiple violations from the SLA, NYPD and DOB prove this establishment is not operating in accordance with the law.

“My office has reached out to the SLA and asked that they look into revoking Pompeii’s license. Under no circumstances should their license be renewed in May,” Klein said.

More from Around NYC