An East Side nightclub that was the scene of a shooting last month will remain closed, despite efforts by its owners to reverse a city decision to reopen it.
Following a 90-minute hearing in State Supreme Court, Justice Dennis Ward said Club 1210 and The Groove Lounge on Broadway would remain closed at least until the Buffalo Police Department can provide records of criminal incidents at the establishment that led the city to shut it down.
Ward did grant the temporary reopening of the establishment's community empowerment section, which he said would have a timely impact because it annually hands out donated backpacks to students in need.
The city took the action against the business last month, days after an off-duty Buffalo police officer was shot outside the establishment. Earlier this year, the state Liquor Authority had initiated proceedings to cancel or revoke the business' liquor license, according to authority documents.
A notice was placed on the establishment doors that stated a "dire emergency" as the reasoning for closing, according to Michael Jackson, who works security for the club. Club owners Laurie Anderson and Marcia Alston filed a lawsuit two days after the club was ordered to immediately shut down.
An informal hearing Wednesday in City Hall did not resolve the dispute. Attorney Steven Cohen, representing the club, said his clients would not accept any new restrictions on hours of operation as an incentive for reopening.
"Any proposed settlement that suggests a cutback in hours will not be acceptable for me," he said.
Rashied McDuffie, assistant corporation counsel for Buffalo, said following that meeting that the city was "not in a position to make a settlement offer at [the] time."
That led to Thursday's hearing before Ward, who said his mission was to determine whether to re-open the club "while the wheels of justice grind."
Ward ordered the city to provide documentation of the events that led the city to force its closure. McDuffie asked for a week to compile the information.
Ward granted the temporary reopening of the establishment's community empowerment section, which he felt had a timely impact due to the backpacks that are donated annually to students in need.
In his last attempt to sway Ward, Cohen asked for the restaurant to remain unaffected by the closure.
"Let us reopen so that 20 people have their jobs back and can buy bread and milk for their babies," Cohen pleaded.
The club and restaurant will remain closed in the meantime and the owners were warned by Ward that the reopening of the empowerment section is "not meant to be used as a subterfuge" for reopening the club.