The State Liquor Authority must deny a new local club’s request for a liquor license due to the owner’s troubling history, demanded a pair of officials from Sunset Park’s Community Board 7 in a July 23 letter to the state regulator. Board members believe that proprietor Imran Jairam’s new venture Starway 2826 — planned for the same 47th Street location as his controversial previous club Love and Lust — would cause the same problems as its predecessor after Jairam presented plans for the new establishment to the board’s public safety committee, according to the letter.
“It did not appear to us that he had an interest in cutting off drunk patrons from ordering additional alcohol, helping those too inebriated to find a safe way to travel, or his patrons’ activities once they left his business,” wrote the board’s chairman, Cesar Zuniga, and district manager, Jeremy Laufer. “To us, this did not sound like someone interested in working with the local residents to mitigate negative impacts.”
The July 17 committee meeting was Jairam’s first chance to secure the board’s favor for his new venture before the full board votes on whether to recommend that the state authority approve or deny the liquor license at the board’s next general meeting on Sept. 26. But when locals and board members questioned Jairam at the committee meeting about how he planned to respond to some of the issues they previously dealt with at Love and Lust — including public drunkenness, drunk driving, property damage, fights, and public urination — Jairam told locals that his responsibility “ended at the curb,” the officials wrote in the letter, adding that his attitude made them worry he was simply out to make a profit at the expense of locals’ quality of life.
“To our Board Members, the owner’s attitude seemed to state he was not interested in the community or the safety of his neighbors, he was simply here to make money,” Zuniga and Laufer wrote.
Jairam’s former club, Love and Lust — located between Second and Third avenues — shuttered after the liquor authority cancelled the club’s license on May 16, based on the 11 violations and more than $40,000 in fines Jairam paid out to the authority since 2014 for failing to comply with local regulations, becoming a focal point for police attention, and a failure to supervise patrons, according to a spokesman for the liquor authority at the time. City data also shows that locals called in 14 complaints about the club to 311 since 2016, including one complaint of drug activity inside and nine noise complaints.
And the club became embroiled in further controversy when Jairam filed a $125-million notice of claim against the city, alleging that local Deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez of the 72nd Precinct unfairly targeted the club with inspections, among other allegations, prompting rapper 50 Cent to defend the club in multiple Instagram posts.
And last month, a lawyer for Gonzalez, Delvis Valdes, called out the community board — and Laufer specifically — for writing a letter to the liquor authority supporting Love and Lust, alleging that the letter glossed over the club’s troubled history in the neighborhood.
But Laufer and Zuniga wrote in the July 23 letter that the board’s new position recommending the denial of the liquor license for Jairam’s new venture should supersede “any earlier communication from this Board, its officers or employees concerning this business or its previous incarnation,” and that it should be considered the position of the full board until it votes at the Sept. 26 general meeting.
Community boards’ recommendations to the liquor authority are advisory, not binding.
Neither Jairam nor a spokesman at the State Liquor Authority could be reached by press time.