Volume 73, Number 39 | January 28 - February 03, 2004

Sessa agrees to cease operating

By Albert Amateau

Sessa, the Chelsea club that has been the target of more than 30 police investigations including a rape, a robbery and 13 assaults during the course of a year, agreed last week to close its doors permanently on Feb. 4.

Police Department legal division attorneys and lawyers for the club and the owners of the Cartaret, the high-rise residential building at 208 W. 23rd St. where Sessa is located in the basement, reached the closing agreement Fri. Jan. 13.

The permanent closing agreement was contingent on a court approval or modification expected by the end of January.

The closing was hailed by neighborhood advocates who have been dealing with complaints about noise, violence and rowdy behavior in the street in front of Sessa and its previous incarnations as a club over the years.

“Fantastic,” said Cheryl Kupper, head of the Community Board 4 Business and Licenses Committee. “This has been a blight for years and the closing will be great for 23rd St. and for residents of the building.”

Capt. Dennis De Quatro, commanding officer of the 10th Precinct, said the police legal division filed a nuisance abatement complaint against the club, owned by Stratis Morfogen, and the landlord, JSB Properties, because of the club’s record of violence and sale of alcohol to underage patrons.

A temporary restraining order to close the club in May was issued on Jan. 16, but subsequent discussions among the parties resulted in the agreement by Morfogen to close permanently on Feb. 4 and by JSB Properties not to lease the space to another club for at least a year.

The agreement by the landlord is the maximum under the Nuisance Abatement Law, De Quatro said. “But they told us privately that they intended never to lease the space to a club operator,” he added.

De Quatro said he believed the record of complaints submitted to the court by the community board and the efforts of City Councilmember Christine Quinn were instrumental in bringing about the agreement. Community Board 4 has also urged the State Liquor Authority to suspend Sessa’s liquor license and recommended that the agency not grant Sessa a license for a second bar at the club. The S.L.A. has not yet decided on Sessa’s liquor license.


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