State officials: Amnesia owner draws a blank when it comes to worker’s compensation insurance

Ridge panel allows drinking at Amnesia — but no dancing
Photo by Brittany Somerset

The owner of the controversial Bay Ridge nightspot Amnesia forgot to get worker’s compensation insurance for his employees, say state officials who shut the club down last month.

The New York State Worker’s Compensation Board issued a stop-work order on the Brazilian steakhouse-turned-nightclub — which has come under fire from Community Board 10 for having pounding music, rowdy patrons, double parked cars, and for hosting dance parties without a license — on Sept. 17 for failing to insure its workers for nearly two years, a misstep that’s costing owner Frank Sofia more than $126,000 in fines.

“We have been trying to work with this owner and this owner has not been available or cooperative,” said Workers Compensation Board spokesman Joseph Cavalcante, who said that Amnesia first came on the agency’s radar after an employee was injured on the job. “We have been investigating this business for quite some time. It’s gotten a lot of notice from us.”

Cavalcante said that if Sofia wants to open Amnesia again either as a restaurant, nightclub, or any of the other multiple personalities the business has taken on over the years without providing proof of insurance and paying the fines, he can be taken away in handcuffs.

“If the order is violated, we would refer the case to the district attorney and the police,” the spokesman said. “But the business can come to us and review the penalty amount. Our goal is compliance. Our goal is not to accumulate revenue.”

Sofia, who also owns Sofia’s Restaurant on Third Avenue between 84th and 85th streets and Sofia’s Ristorante Italiano in Manhattan’s Theater District, said he planned to resolve the situation soon.

“I’m going to take care of things with the Worker’s Compensation Board. I’m not going to do anything non-legally,” said Sofia, refusing to comment further.

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2525.