Strip Club with Violent Past Ordered to Close as Owner Fined Nearly $300K
HUNTS POINT — Investigators have ordered Club Eleven, a strip club with a violent history and scores of infractions, to stop operating until nearly $300,000 in fines are paid, a state official has said.
The club at 1152 Randall Ave. has a bloody record of shootings, stabbings, fights and a sexual assault in and around the venue since it opened in 2009 and, already this year, has been the site of more than 60 criminal incidents or complaints, sources said.
The troubled night spot has been targeted by local police, state agencies and the area’s community board, which voted last week after a meeting with Club Eleven’s owner to ask the State Liquor Authority to stop the club from renewing its liquor license when it expires at the end of the month.
Rafael Salamanca Jr., Community Board 2’s district manager, said the board stated its opposition to the club in no uncertain term at the meeting.
“We made it very clear that they’re a nuisance and we’re going to do everything we can to get their liquor license revoked,” said Salamanca, who has gone so far as to don a bulletproof vest and accompany the authorities when they raided the club earlier this year.
The state Workers’ Compensation Board issued Club Eleven a stop-work order on Sunday because the owner defaulted on a payment agreement for a $150,000 fine stemming from a 2011 investigation that found an employee had been injured at the club but that it did not have workers' compensation insurance, the state official said.
The owner, Patrick Aryee, also allowed the club’s insurance to lapse again in June and did not comply with state subpoenas for business and payroll records, which is how the current fines reached a whopping $297,500, the official added.
Aryee was arrested in March during the joint raid that Salamanca observed involving the local police precinct, the WCB and other agencies for running the club while the 2011 fine and stop-work order still stood.
“Not having workers’ compensation, that means they’re putting lives at risk. People could get hurt and they’re not covered,” Salamanca said. “It’s obvious that the owner is not concerned about that.”
Club Eleven’s listed phone number was out of service Monday.
A representative for ShowTime Event Planning, which has organized parties at the club, said the company no longer works with Club Eleven nor is in contact with the owner.
A message left for Aryee through his former attorney was not immediately returned.
Salamanca said that at the July 9 meeting Aryee and the club’s manager described their security protocols, which include patting down all club guests and scanning and digitally recording their IDs.
In the past three years, the club has been the site of 285 criminal incidents, arrests, complaints or summonses, Salamanca said.
Last July, five men were slashed and two shot in a feud that spilled from the club onto the street.
The liquor authority has charged the club with more than 20 infractions since it opened, including seven charges for on-site assaults or brawls and three for women soliciting men in the club for “immoral purposes.”
Police have issued summonses at Club Eleven for the assaults, as well as for unlicensed security guards and disorderly conduct, the local precinct’s commanding officer said last year.
The community board argues that the club not only endangers its workers and patrons, but also the entire district since it draws police officers away from heavily populated residential neighborhoods to the industrial side of Hunts Point, which is zoned to allow strip clubs.
“We feel the police should not be babysitting Club Eleven,” Salamanca said.
The board has written the liquor authority in the past asking it to deny the club’s license renewal requests, but they were still approved, Salamanca said.
He is hoping that, this time, the request will be brought before the agency’s full board so that he can testify against it.
“I think we have sufficient evidence to be successful this time,” Salamanca said.