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NIGHTCLUB SAFETY ISSUE IS HEADED FOR COURT PLEASUREDOME HOPES FOR SATISFACTORY RESOLUTION AFTER 5-YEAR ORDEAL

NIAGARA FALLS -- Representatives of Niagara County and of the Pleasuredome nightclub will be in State Supreme Court Monday for a hearing that the attorney for the nightclub hopes will put to rest five-year old questions about building safety.

The hearing will be on an order obtained March 9 by the Pleasuredome to prevent the county from closing the nightclub and the Falls Street Station building, according to Niagara County Attorney Glenn S. Hackett and Michael A. Gold, attorney for the Pleasuredome.

The two said Thursday they have been working together since March 9, along with the bondholders who own Falls Street Station, and with Mark Dembitsky, the county building inspector, to resolve questions about the safety of the Pleasuredome and Falls Street Station in which the nightclub is located.

"We have agreed to get everything done as quickly as possible," Hackett said. "We've got people's word on things but in order to make sure it happens we've got to proceed with the litigation."

"We expect a satisfactory resolution," Gold said. "The building definitely will not be closed."

Hackett's letter followed a Feb. 2 inspection of Falls Street Station by state and county building inspectors. The letter cited four major problems that were to be corrected or the county would have shut the building down. The closing of the building would have been "catastrophic" to the nightclub's business, Gold said.

Hackett's letter called for tests or inspections on the Station's electrical, sprinkler and fire alarm systems and on the plastic insulation liner on the walls and ceiling to determine its fire rating. Hackett said Thursday the liner is satisfactory as far as Dembitsky is concerned. The electrical, sprinkler and fire alarm systems all were tested by independent concerns and found to be working. Hackett said the county is awaiting reports on whether the systems are adequate.

Gold said Falls Street Station has a certificate of occupancy from 1991 issued by an engineering firm working for the county. He said the document certifies the building meets codes. But, he said, apparently the documentation was not on file with the county. Dembitsky was hired by the county recently after the state ordered the county to enforce the state Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code in all county-owned buildings. The county Industrial Development Agency holds title to the Station because it was financed through the IDA.

"It was a rush to justice. People drew conclusions because they didn't have the documents in front of them," Gold said. "These things were never wrong in the first place. He said it was our obligation to prove it. We said it wasn't."

Gold said he believes this legal action will "close the book" on questions about safety issues in Falls Street Station, adding "the Pleasuredome moved into a building where these things were already in place. We didn't install them."

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