City Paper Widget

Friday, November 22, 2013

Neighbor to Protest Liquor License Renewal of Lotus Lounge

Lotus Lounge (1420 K Street NW) will have its liquor license renewal protested by an abutting property owner, according to information was made public at the November 20 meeting of the liquor-licensing affairs committee of Advisory Neighborhood Committee (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle.

The protest will be brought by 1400 K Co., LLC, owners of the office building on the southwest corner of 14th and K Streets. 1400 K Co. seeks to have Lotus Lounge enter into a settlement agreement similar to the one 1400 K Co. has with another neighbor, The Park at 14th nightclub (920 14th Street).

The ongoing three-cornered struggle between ANC2F, 1400 K Co., and The Park at 14th nightclub has been the subject of previous SALM blog posts, most recently on November 14.

However, ANC2F will not join in the protest against Lotus Lounge. The deadline to petition D.C.'s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) for standing in this case is December 2, but ANC2F would not have an opportunity to vote until its meeting of December 4. The liquor-licensing affairs committee decided to take no action on the case, and it will not seek to enter into a settlement agreement with Lotus Lounge.

Attorney wants agreements with two nightclubs

Attorney John Patrick Brown of the law firm of Greenstein DeLorme & Luchs is representing 1400 K Co. in both cases. At the November 20 meeting, he told the liquor-licensing affairs committee his client would sign the letter of protest against Lotus Lounge the following day. A protest will provide leverage in agreement negotiations.

"I have not communicated with Lotus," Brown said of the letter of protest.

Brown said Lotus Lounge, like The Park at 14th, had a "rich investigative history". In the case of the Lotus Lounge, this included brawling, shootings, and assaults on police officers.

Public documents indicate the Lotus Lounge was fined $4000 and required to suspend business for six days in June 2012 for "failure to have police detail".

A WUSA9 report (video available here) details a history of violent activity connected to the club, including the June 2011 case where a District Heights man was so severely beaten by off-duty D.C. police officers working as security for the nightclub that he lost an eye. Four D.C. police officers were indicted in June 2012 for assault, conspiracy, and perjury in connection with this incident, according to a Washington Post report.

Brown also noted that, although Lotus Lounge's official capacity is 239, its web site says the club's capacity is 400.

Brown said his client wouldn't mind if ANC2F delayed the process in order to join in. But when the committee did not express enthusiasm, Brown did not pursue the matter. 

"At the end of the day, the goal for my client is a voluntary agreement like The Park at 14th," Brown said.

A settlement agreement is sometimes entered into by liquor-serving establishments, ANCs, and third parties to codify arrangement concerning opening hours, trash pickup, valet parking, and other matters which may impact the public.

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