Call him the Teflon Don of New York nightlife!
As suspected by nightlife blog Down by the Hipster and others, nightclub impresario Noah Tepperberg’s Marquee was not shut down earlier this summer solely because of a water main break. Documents (click for .pdf) from the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control filed on July 8 charge that a months-long undercover sting yielded seven different occurrences of “storage, possession, use or trafficking of a controlled substance” at the club, and one instance of “storage, possession, use or trafficking of marijuana.”
The alleged body of evidence resulted in charges against the club owners, Noah Tepperberg and Jason Strauss, for failing “to exercise adequate supervision over the conduct of the licensed business,” and on July 18 an emergency summary order of suspension of their liquor license was put in effect.
Suspend the license? “The club was never closed to my knowledge,” Mr. Tepperberg’s lawyer, David Jaroslawicz, told the Transom. “They may have had a water main leak,” he added. Another client of his had a fire not long ago.
Mr. Jaroslawicz eventually came to the point. “That fact that some idiots tried to sell drugs—you know, do everything you can to prevent it, but you know, if some idiots want to sell drugs, they’re going to sell drugs,” he said.
As for the swift, seemingly seamless handling of the matter, the lawyer said everything was by the book: Cops had a lawyer, State Liquor Authority had a lawyer and Mr. Tepperberg had him.
“You always, always try to cooperate with the police,” he said. “Because they’re protecting you from the crazies, but they’re also the ones who control things.”
In this instance, cooperating meant allowing the police to supervise the installation of additional security equipment. “It was not cheap at all, I can tell you that,” said Mr. Jaroslawicz.
Mr. Tepperberg did not return several calls for comment.
Marquee was already on thin ice for an alleged assault and a health code violation in ’06, among other things. Was this a sweetheart deal?
“I don’t think they got a sweet deal. They got a very, very specific arrangement, which was approved by the proper authorities,” he said. “For you to say they got a sweet deal, I don’t know where you’re getting that from.”