Mattapan restaurant charged with running illegal after-hours nightclub

UPDATE: The board took no action Thursday as it continues to investigate the case.

The Boston Licensing Board on Thursday considers whether to take any action against Prestige Cuisine, 924 Morton St., after a BPD detective said an investigation - started after patrons were shot at as they left around 4:30 one March morning - showed an owner was opening up the basement for a nightclub at 2 a.m.

Sgt. Det. John Fitzgerald of District B-3 told the board he and other officers staked out the restaurant - which is supposed to close at 11 p.m. - around 2 a.m. on March 25. A man came from out back and opened the front door and not long after several cars pulled up - some driving the wrong way down Corbet Street to park - and entered the front.

Fitzgerald said he followed them in and found them downstairs in the basement with a DJ playing music, a cooler full of beer, bottles of rum, brandy and mixers in a manager's office and plates of chicken and fries for sale at $5 each, along with roughly 12 people. Fitzgerald said a rear exit door was chained and locked, the railing on the stairs was broken and a fire extinguisher was missing.

One of the owners of the Caribbean and West African restaurant disputed Fitzgerald's account, saying he just had three or four friends over for a quiet little party.

"I did not sell chicken," he said.

"The music wasn't just gentle music for friends, it was actual, pumping music," Fitzgerald replied, adding the owner told him at the time the food was for sale.

Fitzgerald said he decided to investigate the restaurant after an incident on March 19, in which a carload of people was shot at around 4:30 a.m. by the occupants of another car a couple blocks away from the restaurant on Corbet Street at Evans Street. The people who were shot at said both they and the people in the other car had just come from Prestige.

Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini noted the restaurant's food-serving license does not allow alcohol on the premises for any reason. She said the board on Thursday would take a good hard look at what sort of punishment, aftertelling the owner she was not buying the small-party argument:

"You were operating an illegal nightclub down there," she said.

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Comments

A nightclub with 12 people?

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A nightclub with 12 people? Give me a break. Leave that man alone why dont they go fuck with the loser shooting. Thats the problem

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So you're OK ...

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With a bunch of people in a basement with no fire extinguisher and a chained and locked exit?

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Who cares?

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I'm sure they're all adults and assumed the risk involved. I've seen much larger crowds in much more treacherous basements at punk rock shows.
12 People in a basement at 2:30 a.m. just sounds like a boring birthday party.

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I'm not OK with those things. However, the shootings

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happened a couple of blocks away. So let's stake out the restaurant because they were obviously involved.

As bad as the violations were, this practice of going after business owners for events that DID NOT HAPPEN on their premises is a flagrant abuse of police powers.

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"Gentle music for friends"

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That's one of the stupidest lines I've heard. I mean, sure, that's what I prefer too, but lots of people like lots of different kinds of music to play when they are hanging out with friends.

(I don't necessarily believe the owner's account, though.)

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I'm laughing because I just

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I'm laughing because I just checked who the restaurant's managers on the Secretary of State's website and and one of the managers has a last name of "Lucky" .

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Ever been to an afterhours club?

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His mistake was a) the chained firedoor thing, which I can NEVER forgive and b) not keeping things on the "down low".

The first rule of after-hours places is to not attract attention (like driving the wrong way down the street and, oh yeah, getting shot.) The general idea of, "Hey we went for drinks at an after-hours club" is kind of cool. If they can't do it without pissing everyone off (and people getting shot) then good job on the cops for busting it up.

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A lot of this had a chance of

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A lot of this had a chance of not happening if the inner city had access to beer/liquor licenses so they didn't have to operate illegally. Bars, restaurants and night clubs are severely lacking in the area.

There's a need to pressure releases that don't require going towns over for a decent drink. AND enough of them that different factions/gangs don't end up congregating at the same night clubs causing more violence that will undoubtedly get the venue shut down on first offense.

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