New York State Liquor Authority

12/08/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/08/2023 21:08

SLA Issues Emergency Suspension for Buffalo Club

Alleged Pattern of Violence at Club Marcella Leads to License Suspension

The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the license of Club Marcella of Buffalo LTD, doing business as "Club Marcella" at 106 Michigan Avenue in Buffalo today. The suspension was ordered by Chair Lily Fan, and Commissioner Edgar De Leon, at a special meeting of the Full Board on December 8, 2023. Effective immediately, no alcohol may be sold or consumed on the premises.

The suspension follows numerous instances requiring the Buffalo Police Department to respond to complaints regarding incidents involving firearms, violence, thefts, disturbances, property damages, and quality of life concerns around the establishment.

Most recently, on December 3, 2023, Buffalo Police report a patron was lured into the bathroom of the licensed premises by several other patrons, beaten and shot. Despite having an airport style metal detector and a high number of licensed security guards, an apparent breakdown in security protocol allowed for a gun to pass through security unknowingly.

This was not the first shooting to occur on the premises. Buffalo Police reports suggest this to be part of an ongoing trend in violence occurring in and around Club Marcella. According to their call log, Buffalo Police have responded to 131 service calls regarding various levels of disturbances. On November 26, 2022, reportedly an argument inside Club Marcella led to six or seven patrons being removed from the premises. While some patrons were outside the Club, a man dressed as a security guard was arrested for criminal impersonation after pepper spraying a patron.

Additionally, on January 29, 2023, at around 3:05 a.m., Buffalo police responded to a report of a shooting that occurred in the parking lot where the victim suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. On February 12, 2023, at around 2:40 a.m., Buffalo police responded to a shooting at Club Marcella. As a result of the shooting, one patron was killed, in addition to injuries sustained by another patron and a security guard. On October 1, 2023, around 4:19 a.m. Buffalo Police responded to a report of a drive by shooting where two people were shot.

"It is clear that there has been a recent troubling pattern of violence and disorder in and around this location," said SLA Chair Lily Fan. "Licensees have a duty to provide for the safety of their patrons, and the Board is obligated to take action to protect public safety."

On December 7th, 2023, the SLA charged Club Marcella with a violation of section 118 of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, for a sustained and continuing pattern of noise, disturbance, misconduct or disorder on or about the licensed premises, connected to the health, welfare or safety of the inhabitants of the area of the licensed premises; being a focal point of police attention, and failure to exercise a high degree of supervision over the conduct of the licensed business. Following this suspension, the SLA will prosecute the violations charged, the maximum penalty for which is revocation of the license.

The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a State agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action. When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations. In invoking a summary suspension, the SLA has deemed the alleged violation to be sufficiently serious upon initial review to warrant an immediate suspension. The SLA's decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination on the merits of the case. The licensee is entitled to a prompt hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.