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    Popular Bronx nightclub Con Sofrito hasn’t torn down illegal party room

    By Chris Sommerfeldt, Graham Rayman, New York Daily News,

    2024-04-16
    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0gErqQ_0sSUZx0x00
    The party room at Con Sofrito, a restaurant in the Bronx popular with NYC politicians. David Cruz/New York Daily News/TNS

    Con Sofrito, a Bronx nightclub and restaurant frequented by New York politicos, hasn’t torn down an illegal party room on its premises — even though it was supposed to do so more than six weeks ago under a court settlement that also requires it to shutter for good this summer, legal papers show.

    The Westchester Square establishment landed in hot water last year when the eatery’s landlord filed court papers alleging the owners had illegally built a “party room” attached to the restaurant, where late-night events were regularly held.

    The restaurant is owned by Richard Caban, an ex-NYPD lieutenant and the brother of Police Commissioner Edward Caban. It has been a mainstay for various elected officials since opening in 2020, including Mayor Adams, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and state Attorney General Letitia James as well as NYPD brass, like Commissioner Caban. Adams celebrated his 63rd birthday there in September.

    To avoid immediate eviction over the landlord’s legal filing, Richard Caban and his partners agreed as part of a court-approved settlement in February to close Con Sofrito permanently by Aug. 31 and dismantle the party room by March 1, a development first reported by the Daily News.

    But new court papers say the party room was still standing as of this past Tuesday. That’s in spite of the fact that a number of building and fire safety violations have been issued over the illegal structure, city records show.

    Jamie Schreck, an attorney for the landlord, Joseph Dedona, told The News last week that the failure to raze the party room by March 1 means Caban and his partners are violating the settlement .

    The settlement states that if Caban and his partners violate it, Dedona could move to immediately evict them and not let them continue operating through Aug. 31.

    Schreck said Dedona’s hands are tied for now, however, because he hasn’t been able to obtain an eviction warrant. He said he applied for such a warrant in conjunction with signing the settlement in February — but the Bronx Civil Court system is so backlogged the document still hasn’t been processed, court records show.

    An attorney for Con Sofrito acknowledged in a Bronx Supreme Court hearing last Tuesday that the party room remained standing.

    Court papers filed in that case, which is separate from the Civil Court matter that prompted the February settlement, reveal Con Sofrito’s rep said in the hearing that the restaurant has a Buildings Department permit to take down the party room. The judge concluded the hearing by extending an order prohibiting Con Sofrito to use the party room for any purposes and directed all parties to return to court May 22 for another update, records show.

    A Buildings Department spokesman confirmed Con Sofrito received a permit Feb. 21 to remove the party room. During a recent visit, The News noticed tables and other furniture in the space had been stacked on top of each other, but the structure remained mostly intact.

    Richard Caban didn’t return a request for comment this week, and neither did a lawyer representing him in the case brought by Dedona.

    The State Liquor Authority launched a probe in January into whether it should take action on Con Sofrito’s alcohol license in response to the illegal party room, but authority spokesman Patrick Garrett said Monday the agency’s cases involving Con Sofrito are closed. Con Sofrito’s license remains active.

    Agency records show Con Sofrito’s license hasn’t been discussed at any of the Liquor Authority’s board meetings this year, and Garrett declined to discuss any findings of the probe.

    Adams spokeswoman Liz Garcia declined to comment Monday on the lingering illegal party room other than to say City Hall is “not part of the settlement” requiring Con Sofrito’s closure.

    For more stories,Subscribe to Daily News.

    ©2024 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com.

    Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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