Ultralounge declared 'public nuisance'

police could padlock it for up to a year

November 17, 2009

Violence linked to the Suite Ultralounge, in the basement of the historic Belvedere Hotel, has made the business a public nuisance, a Baltimore administrative hearing officer found Monday.

That clears the way for police to padlock the club for up to a year. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said no action will be taken until Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III has an opportunity to read the hearing examiner's written decision, which should occur "within a week."

As an alternative, Guglielmi said, the law provides an option for the club's owners to submit a proposed "public safety plan."

But it would be up to the commissioner to accept the plan, or reject it and shutter the club. The club's attorney, Peter A. Prevas, could not be reached for comment.

Bealefeld has used the padlock law before to force bar and liquor store owners to improve security and police themselves. Suite Ultralounge is a so-called "bottle club," to which patrons bring their own alcohol.

Armed robberies, fights, stabbings and a shooting that occurred outside the club last year sparked an outcry from residents and businesses in the Mid-town Belvedere and Mount Vernon neighborhoods.

An attempt by the city Liquor Board to revoke the club's license was overturned by a Circuit Court judge.

- Frank Roylance

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