Liquor license for nightclub might be withheld Board approved it despite application's lack of financial data

January 12, 1996|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

The city's liquor board is threatening to withhold a liquor license for an upscale downtown nightclub if the woman who sought the license does not tell the board how she will finance the club.

Aaron Stansbury, the board's executive secretary, said yesterday that he had drafted a letter to Mary E. Collins, a school guidance counselor who was awarded the liquor license in September. In her application, Ms. Collins left blank all questions about her financing for the nightclub, but the board approved the license.

The nightclub at 410 W. Fayette St. will be operated by Kenneth A. Jackson, who was once convicted on a weapons charge. He also manages the Eldorado Lounge in downtown Baltimore, which features striptease. He has been the subject of enforcement action by the board in the past.

The liquor license for the club, to be known as the Royal Cafe, received the backing of state Sen. Larry Young and then-City Councilman Lawrence A. Bell III. Mr. Bell is now council president.

The three-member liquor board said it was unaware of Mr. Jackson's involvement in developing and managing Royal Cafe.

Mr. Jackson's lawyer, Robert M. Simels of New York City, said in a letter that his client does not own the club but is developing and managing it on behalf of his mother, Rosalie Jackson, who owns the building.

In the letter, Mr. Simels accused the University of Maryland at Baltimore -- which is near the proposed nightclub -- of putting political pressure on Mr. Jackson, manipulating the news media and disseminating "misinformation" about Mr. Jackson because the school wanted to buy the building.

James T. Hill Jr., vice president for administrative services at UMAB, denied the allegations, saying, "We have never brought political pressure on them."

The university routinely opposes all applications for liquor licenses in the area, he said.

Mr. Hill said the university is still interested in purchasing the building and has talked to Mr. Jackson in the past few weeks about the matter.

Mr. Hill said that the state is appraising the building, which is being renovated for the nightclub, and that Mr. Jackson had told him he might be interested in selling the building because the current liquor license was not approved for adult entertainment, which was his original aim in developing the club.

Mr. Simels denied that Mr. Jackson still would like to open a nightclub for adult entertainment but said Mr. Jackson's mother might be interested in selling the building if the price was high enough.

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