Against All Odds, Violation-Laden Club Owner Seeks Liquor License Renewal

Remix, at 27 Park Pl., was shut down as a result of an Emergency Summary Order of Suspension of its liquor license. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Mar. 07, 2017

Plenty of long-shot liquor license applications have come before Community Board 1 over the years. But rarely has there been an applicant as unlikely to succeed as Panagiotis Kotsonis, owner of the club Remix at 27 Park Pl.

The State Liquor Authority in January handed Kotsonis 49 violations, summarily suspended his liquor license and shut him down following a midnight multi-agency investigation. But that did not deter the owner from appearing with his lawyer before CB1’s Financial District Committee last week in hopes of a routine renewal of his license, which expired on Feb. 28.

Blocked fire exits, unmaintained fire extinguishers and a missing cellar fire alarm, unlicensed security guards and an absence of books and financial records were among a laundry list of alleged violations that the inspectors said they found. Then there were the 18 lap dancing couples (“several females completely topless”) gyrating on couches in a concealed back room in a dangerous location, according to the inspectors’ reports.

We found they were essentially running a strip club without being licensed as one, said an SLA spokesman.

Inspectors descended on the club after neighbors complained that St. Venus Theater, described by the SLA as a “roving, strip, lap dancing and pay for sex enterprise,” was operating at Remix, according to the authority.

So never mind about the the liquor license renewal. One committee member, after reading over the five-and-half page list of charges, called for jailing the owner. Another simply said she favored “the harshest possible penalty.”

“These are not just violations, these are actually criminal acts,” said committee member Joel Kopel.

Kotsonis barely spoke at the meeting and afterwards refused the Trib’s request for comment. His lawyer, Timothy Alnwick, told the committee that his client is still waiting for a ruling on the charges following a hearing and no license would be granted until the authority had reached a judgement. “First they have to decide what they’re going to do with the 49 charges,” Alnwick said. “If 40 are sustained, what’s the proper penalty? And they’re going to take into account that he’s been closed for a month.”

This was not Kotsonis’s first run-in with the committee. In 2013, neighbors showed up to successfully block his application for a cabaret license, claiming that the club was using an emergency exit on Murray Street as an entrance and a place where partygoers congregated.

The committee later reversed its decision after being convinced that the door on Murray Street was no longer used as an entrance.

But then came this latest application, and the vote to recommend a denial of the license renewal was unanimous.

“Why,” said committee member Pat Moore, “should we reward bad behavior?”