Court Orders Dance Club To Hand In Its License

The New York TimesBy JENNIFER STEINHAUER | Published: May 25, 2001

After nearly three years of attempts by various New York City agencies to shut down a popular Chelsea nightclub, the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court yesterday ordered the club, Twilo, to hand over its cabaret license, effectively putting it out of business.

Twilo, a club built in a former warehouse at 530 West 27th Street, has been a target of law enforcement officials and the mayor’s office since late 1998, when the city, citing the drug overdose of a patron, filed a lawsuit declaring the club a public nuisance. The city lost that suit.

The city has since accused the club of operating as a veritable supermarket of the drugs ecstasy and G.H.B., or gamma hydroxybutyrate. Last July, a patron died from a drug overdose after collapsing on the floor of the club; in October, ambulance workers responding to a 911 call from inside the club were denied entrance, Fire Department officials have said. An eventual search of the club yielded three revelers — two unconscious and one semi-conscious — who were later treated for drug overdoses at St. Vincent’s Manhattan Hospital. City officials also noted that the club, like others in Manhattan, hired a private ambulance to wait outside in case of drug overdoses by patrons.

Last year, the city refused to renew Twilo’s cabaret license, but in February the Supreme Court of New York determined that the city had no basis for doing so and called the action ”arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable,” according to court papers. Yesterday’s decision overturned that ruling.

”We are very disappointed,” said Peter R. Sullivan, a lawyer for Twilo. ”We are very concerned that these very important issues for the dance industry are not being addressed.”

Twilo is an international center of electronic music, attracting D.J.’s from around the world and large crowds each weekend. But the club was shut down this month after the police and building inspectors raided it and insisted that several building permits were missing or invalid.

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