SLA Moves to Revoke Liquor License from Sons of Essex, Rochelle’s, and BFB Highline

Posted on: June 24th, 2014 at 5:04 am by

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“Leave Rochelle Out of It” at 19 Stanton St

The ongoing public fight between former partners Matt Levine and controversial landlord Michael Shah (DelShah Capital) has just taken an interesting twist.

While the $20 million lawsuit rages in the background, the State Liquor Authority is finally taking Michael Shah to task over his numerous nightlife operations downtown. It took a year for them to listen. And now, public documents reveal that the governing body just began proceedings to cancel/revoke the liquor licenses from Sons of Essex (133 Essex), Leave Rochelle Out of It (19 Stanton), and BFB Highline/The Raven (55 Gansevoort).

This high-level motion apparently stems from overall misrepresentation of ownership to the SLA. Matt Levine is the 50-50 co-licensor on all these liquor licenses with Shah, and has no stake in the businesses. Yet, as it stands, his name remains listed on all the paperwork (Chalkpoint Kitchen and Handy Liquor Bar are his current ventures). To date, neither Shah nor his partners (including convicted felon Victor Jung) applied for a license transfer for the establishments.

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Photo: daddydoitall

With regard to Sons of Essex, the SLA accuses Shah’s Line Group of claiming sole ownership and permitting “Victor Jung to misrepresent his ownership interest in the licensee.”

And for Rochelle’s, similar allegations:

That on or before 5/19/14, the licensee engated in certain conduct, to wit:

permitted Brett David [Steve Yourz, and Victor Jung] to misrepresent his ownership of the licensee to the public; and that the foregoing conduct was of such improper nature as to warrant revocation, cancellation or suspension of the license in accordance with rule 36.1(n) of the Rules of the State Liquor Authority;

We hear that Shah already plead “not guilty” to the aforementioned charges. We’ll be monitoring this story closely, especially in the wake of EMM’s $25,000 slap on the wrist for its myriad violations and subsequent motion to revoke. If the state removes the licenses, then Shah would be unable to have bars as tenants at these addresses for two years.

UPDATE: Shah’s PR firm reached out with the following comment.

The information stated in this article is inaccurate and has been taken out of context.  I was falsely accused of allowing the Creative Directors of each respective venue to represent that they were owners and, while all either are current or were former employees and important to the hospitality experience, I have always been the only owner.  I will defend these matters as appropriate before the SLA and the venues managed by the Line Group will continue to operate business as usual.

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