STRIKING A TOUGH POSE under chairman Daniel Boyle, the liquor board has stuck to its threats to strip Scores of the club’s sexy license to sling pricey drinks as a direct result of the prostitution rap—goodbye, Champagne Room!—a move Scores boss Richard Goldring has woefully declared “will put my company out of business.”
Mr. Goldring is now not only suing the S.L.A. to prevent the revocation but also the S.L.A.’s landlord, the Bruce Ratner-built Harlem Center Office building, to stop security camera footage of the April fracas from being erased or destroyed in anticipation of even more litigation in the near future.
Meanwhile, rumors are circulating that Mr. Goldring and his associates might be looking to unload the sprawling 10,000-square-foot stripper-plex on West 28th Street, which last sold for $10 million in 2004 and now could go for four times that sum.
“At the right price, it’s available,” said Manhattan nightclub broker Alex Picken of Picken Real Estate, who’s been marketing several other nightclub properties in a rapidly changing West Chelsea.
A converted parking garage, the Scores West building on West 28th Street sits along a former industrial strip that was recently rezoned to allow for new residential development.
Could condos soon replace the beleaguered pole-dancing palace? Would each condo come equipped with its own stripper pole?
Mr. Goldring’s current fight-or-flight plight could also bode badly for another Manhattan booze seller soon to face the S.L.A.’s scrutiny. Giuseppe Cipriani, suave operator of eight licensed restaurants and banquet halls citywide, including Harry Cipriani on Fifth Avenue, Downtown Cipriani in SoHo and the renowned Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, may be headed for a similar regulatory purgatory.
The two besieged hospitality honchos have much in common. Tax violations, for instance: Mr. Goldring last year pleaded guilty to falsifying tax returns and business records on $3.1 million in income sheltered through bogus shell companies; Mr. Cipriani pled guilty earlier this month to falsifying tax forms on some $10 million concealed through bogus license fees sheltered in a Luxembourg bank, a rap that just weeks later spurred a separate investigation by the S.L.A. (Felonious restaurateurs generally are not allowed to sell liquor.)
Then again, Mr. Cipriani may also see glimmers of hope in his fellow convicted fraudster’s still-enduring G-string empire, which not only includes Scores West, but the original Scores Showroom on East 60th Street, in addition to the Scores trademark, now emblazoned on nightclubs in other cities.
Despite his conviction, Mr. Goldring was bestowed with the hallowed “Certificate of Relief from Civil Disabilities,” which permits even a convicted felon to carry on with the booze business—provided, of course, one doesn’t again run afoul of the liquor board.
Mr. Cipriani better hope for less hectic dealings before the S.L.A.
Said Scores’ attorney Mr. Mehler: “The entire tenor of this proceeding is beyond anything I have ever seen.”