City moves to shut down Captain's Attic nightclub

Updated: 07/08/2014 5:22 PM
Created: 07/08/2014 5:13 PM WHEC.com

News10NBC is following up on the city’s efforts to close a local East End nightclub. On Tuesday, it filed legal papers to have Captain’s Attic closed down. The club is on Charlotte Street, just off East Avenue.

News10NBC got a copy of the city’s petition and it includes a number of nuisance incidents dating back to last fall. This is the city’s basis to have Captain’s Attic shut down. This is just the beginning of the process. For now, the club remains open.

Clifton Manns said, "This is a problem place and quite frankly, Captain's Attic, I was very concerned about the safety of anyone who goes near that place."

A retired Rochester Police sergeant, Manns is now on the City of Rochester’s Nuisance Points Advisory Board.  That board hears complaints about city businesses and can access points that can ultimately lead to their closure.

On Monday, Mayor Lovely Warren announced she would use the nuisance abatement code to shut down Captain’s Attic.

Mayor Lovely Warren said, “Violence seems to have progressed over the last two weeks and this is something we're not going to stand for in our city."

Last weekend, shots were fired outside the East End bar. It was the latest in a growing list of reported disturbances here. According to Rochester Police, they have had 167 calls for service to that address since the first of the year.

Manns says the owner has appeared before the board on six occasions and called the security at Captain’s Attic "inadequate" and the ownership "incompetent".

Manns said, "Bar owners need to know the law. This particular case, this bar owner just simply was not aware of legal ramifications of operating a bar."

The bar owner, William Greene, was at Captain’s Attic Tuesday, but declined to speak with News10NBC. In an emailed statement, his attorney, Tracy Jong, said, “The City has a problem that is independent of the existence of my client and cannot reasonably find that Captain’s Attic has exacerbated the problem to any appreciable effect. Rather, Captain’s Attic is an easy scapegoat for a pervasive problem facing the city, one that existed long before the bar opened and will no doubt continue even if my client closes down. The City of Rochester has a high crime rate and Captain’s Attic owner William Greene contends that he cannot and should not be held responsible for third party acts, including the failings of Magic City, that are unrelated to its business operations. The city and the Rochester City Police are taking the position that Captain’s Attic is responsible for bringing violent crimes, in particular shootings, to the neighborhood. Thus, the city’s premise behind attempts to close down Captain’s Attic’s is that without this business, the neighborhood would experience no shootings or violent crimes, or at least a lot less of them. This is an unrealistic and unjustified position. In the period since Captain’s Attic has opened, less than 1% of the City’s shootings allegedly were in proximity to my client on Charlotte Street. Several months ago, there was one shooting down the block, and out of 178 shootings causing injury in the City during this period. None were inside my client’s establishment. The only incident my client has been held accountable for was someone with a pre-existing issue with a patron coming to the vicinity of my client’s place and starting trouble after the patron left the establishment. This was not something started in the establishment that carried outside. It was a chance encounter that could have happened at any place where these two people crossed paths. Coincidentally, it was in the vicinity of Captain’s Attic, instead of any other bar or club in the City.”

But Manns says the mayor has made the right move.

Manns said, "The steps that the mayor is taking, I applaud her, they needed to happen."

News10NBC did speak with a number of neighbors, none of whom wanted to appear on camera for fear of retaliation. They all expressed concerns about the activities outside this bar and most said they supported efforts to see it closed down.

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