SLA shuts Mott Haven club amid safety concerns

The Casa Blanca club on Walton Avenue has been closed by city and state officials following a violent incident in January.
Arthur Cusano

A nightclub in Mott Haven has been shut down by the police and the New York State Liquor Authority following a violent incident in January that garnered the hall a slew of violations.

The Casa Blanca, located at 340 Walton Avenue, is located in an industrial area next to a U-Haul truck rental facility, just around the corner from Hostos Community College.

City officials said a 400-guest club, that has only been open for a short time and drew little attention, was the scene of total mayhem on the evening of Saturday, January 21.

“Police responded to a report of an assault in progress, and when they arrived they encountered chaos,” Division of Alcohol beverage Control associate counsel Margarita Marsico told SLA board members during a Wednesday, March 29 emergency hearing.

Several dozen people, mostly minors, were mulling around outside of the club when police officers, heard a gunshot about 60 yards away from the club, the SLA counsel confirmed.

Four people were stabbed in the melee outside, while a bottle-throwing incident that had allegedly occurred inside left four more victims in need of medical attention, she added.

A 16-year old had been arrested outside for disorderly conduct, and the teens found outside are believed to have been drinking in the establishment, according to the SLA.

The club’s owners never appeared for an interview with police on Friday, March 24.

During a subsequent party the SLA and the 40th Precinct vice squad investigators carried out an unannounced joint inspection of the premises, leading to 24 police summonses and four SLA violations.

Summonses were issued for fireworks being stored on the premises, a lack of emergency lighting and snow piles blocking an emergency exit stairway, Marsico said.

The SLA violations included no liquor license posted, the posted caterer’s permit was found to be invalid, the owners could not provide proof of workmen’s compensation insurance and the club lacked security guards, the SLA claims.

“The SLA has basically zero confidence that this place is being adequately supervised and we have no idea who’s operating it,” Marisco told board members before they voted to suspend the club’s liquor license.

The club is scheduled to appear before the board again Wednesday, April 12.

Calls to the phone number listed for the club went unanswered, and the voicemail box was full.

The business is registered to a Juana Peralta who told the SLA she manages the establishment, along with her husband.

Peralta submitted a ‘not guilty’ plea by mail but has not responded to further SLA inquiries, Marisco said.

A female patron walked out of the club with an employee’s pocketbook on Sunday, January 8, just after midnight, according to published reports.

Security footage captured the incident, which was shared with TV news outlets in hopes of catching the culprit.

Calls to the 40th Precinct, 40th Precinct Community Council president Gabriel De Jesus and Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represents the area, for comment, were not returned.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 742–4584. E-mail him at acusano@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano.

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