Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III is seeking to padlock Suite Ultralounge, a troubled nightclub in the basement of the historic Belvedere Hotel, calling it a public nuisance and linking it to a spate of shootings and other crime over the past year.
"The violence that took place is no secret to anybody," police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. "It's been on our naughty list for some time."
The move comes two months after a Circuit Court judge overturned a liquor board decision from last year ordering the club's license revoked, saying newly devised rules governing so-called bottle clubs, in which patrons bring their own alcohol, needed to be clarified and revised.
Residents living in Mid-Town Belvedere and Mount Vernon have been complaining about the club for months and the City Council president urged police last month to padlock the club.
"The reality is there is no question you can tie a number of violent offenses to this club," said City Councilman William H. Cole IV. "Whether or not the liquor board does what it needs to do, the city has its own tools it can use in the most egregious cases. The entire community has been begging for this for well over a year now."
A hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 16. Bealefeld has used the padlock law to shutter or force several bar or liquor store owners to improve security and has made it known he expects the owners to take responsibility for policing their clubs.
Violence outside Suite Ultralounge a year ago this month sparked an outcry from neighbors in an affluent and eclectic part of Baltimore, and spurred months of debate over nightlife and the safety of club patrons and visitors in Mount Vernon, downtown and at the Inner Harbor.
In October 2008, a person was stabbed and two people were shot outside the club on Chase Street after one of the frequently scheduled teen nights. Guglielmi cited several other violent acts this year attributed to the club:
* A 17-year-old patron held up at gunpoint on Jan. 18 outside the club, beaten and robbed of money and a cell phone.
* A 15-year-old patron who robbed two 15-year-old male patrons at gunpoint as they left the club on Feb. 1
* A male patron was stabbed near the club and suffered life-threatening injuries on Oct. 11, which prompted a retaliatory shooting that left a female with a gunshot wound to the thigh that same night. Police said the dispute started inside the club.
The attorney for Ultralounge, Peter A. Prevas, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.