Did the CB1 break state law when it approved the Pier A liquor license?

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August 19, 2014- By Steven E. Greer

On March 4th, the BPC subcommittee of the CB1 met and voted unanimously to approve the liquor license for the Pier A nightclub. By doing so, the CB1 enabled the New York State Liquor Authority to approve the most powerful of all liquor license: a cabaret license that allows the Poulakakos team to operate Pier A 22-hours a day, closing at 4:00 AM, with outdoor music and service of alcohol on the 5,000-square-foot plaza, making it a beer garden.

The entire CB1 meeting on March 4th seemed staged, like Kubuki Theater. Strangely, CB1 member Bob Townley showed up, even though he had not been on the BPC committee before. Somehow, he was placed on the BPC committee for the Pier A vote, coincidentally or not.

After the March 4th CB1 meeting, Mr. Townley was never seen again at the BPC meetings even though the CB1 website listed him as being on the committee.

Now, BatteryPark.TV has learned that Mr. Townley is no longer listed as being on the BPC subcommittee. Why was he briefly placed on the committee, by whom, and what did he gain from it?

The BPC CB1 had opposed the developments of pier A for many years. Most members did not want the tax-dollar-funded Pier A to be used as a private bar creating noise. Then, in an abrupt 180-degree U-turn, some powerful lobbying convinced the CB1 to support the Pier A liquor license.

Clearly, Mr. Townley was trying to pander to those powerful lobbyists and show his full support, even casting his own vote on the matter, or so it would seem. (Ironically, it was Mr. Townley’s poorly chosen words describing Pier A as soon to be “The largest restaurant in the city” that triggered BatteryPark.TV to investigate, then oppose the liquor license.). Mr. Townley was also at the time likely still hoping to regain the lost $250,000 yearly grants that the BPCA had been giving to his Tribeca community center.

Now that the BPCA has made it clear that the grants to Mr. Townley will not return, and the Pier A pandering opportunity is over, Mr. Townley has dropped out of the BPC subcommittee.

By the CB1 doing such machiavellian strategies as meeting in private, appointing members such as Bob Townley to the BPC committee just to stack the vote in favor of Pier A, they could have violated New York Open Meeting laws. Agencies with formal board meetings, such as CB1, are not supposed to have pre-meeting pow-wows.

Stay tuned.

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