Louis Rose — who runs a catering hall in the Christian Scientist church on Park Avenue and 63rd Street — is suing the State Liquor Authority for denying him a license to serve hard liquor for the past 11 years.
Rose has spent $10 million renovating the landmark Third Church of Christ, Scientist at 583 Park Ave. while catering charity galas, weddings and a recent movie screening without incident.
But he claims the SLA has arbitrarily denied him a booze license because of political pressure from a small group of neighbors, most of whom live across the avenue at 580 Park.
“Even before a single event was held,” the lawsuit states, “a group of affluent, influential denizens of buildings near the premises hired lawyers and lobbyists and launched an attack.”
But not every neighbor is against Rose.
One co-op owner at 580 Park, who wants to remain anonymous because he fears repercussions, told me the shareholders have paid more than $500,000 in legal fees to the Preservation Coalition, the group fighting Rose, and it’s not clear if other buildings are paying.
“We have always been told that we are ‘sharing expenses’ with the other members of the coalition,” the neighbor said. “It’s about time that we were told exactly who the other members are and how much of the expenses they are ‘sharing.’ ”
Rose, who grew up in the area and helped create Cipriani 42nd Street, says the SLA turned him down because his opponents claimed an elementary school was within 200 feet of the church.
The suit says the SLA was misinformed because it is a preschool, and “a day-care, or child-care, or preschool facility is not a school so far as concerns the 200-foot rule.”
The neighbor said, “Complaints and fears about the Rose Group never materialized. If anything, the community benefited from their renovation of the church, which kept it from becoming an eyesore.”
Representatives for the co-op board did not respond to my request for comment.
Source: Page Six (Richard Johnson)
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: We Sell Restaurants