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Bracco’s in Freeport sues state over liquor license suspension

Bracco's Clam and Oyster Bar in Freeport on

Bracco's Clam and Oyster Bar in Freeport on Jan. 14, 2017. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The owners of Bracco’s Clam and Oyster Bar in Freeport have sued the New York State Liquor Authority, asking for administrative charges levied against the bar last year, following an impromptu concert by rapper 50 Cent and a disturbance on the Nautical Mile, to be lifted and for the $20,000 fine to be returned, documents show.

The bar, owned by brothers Jon, Michael and Robert Bracco, had its liquor license revoked by the state liquor authority for several months last year. It was reinstated in December, but the liquor authority chastised the owners and issued a $20,000 fine for charges related to the concert and other license compliance issues. The authority also barred Bracco’s from having a DJ, dancing, live music or promotions. The bar was also supposed to close by midnight.

On April 12, the state liquor authority lifted the restrictions on the hours, music and dancing, state authority documents show.

Liquor authority officials said 50 Cent was supposed to simply promote his vodka brand at the bar at 319 Woodcleft Ave. on Aug. 6, but he ended up performing as well. Police and state officials said the concert led to brawls in the streets, destruction of property and glass bottles thrown at police.

Bracco’s Garden City-based lawyer, Ronald Rosenberg, disputed those accounts. He said any disturbances, including a drunken-driving arrest, happened hours after the rapper’s appearance — which the lawsuit called karaoke — and were unrelated to the bar.

“Nothing happened, no one took a swing,” Rosenberg said.

The lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan states the bar lost $2 million in revenue when its liquor license was suspended.

The lawsuit also alleges that Freeport’s police chief, Miguel Bermudez, sent a letter to the state liquor authority “to punish Bracco’s for having invited an African American celebrity rapper (50 Cent) to be a guest at a brief promotional event, which in turn drew a large crowd of African-Americans to the popular Nautical Mile on a summer evening,” the lawsuit states. “Apparently Chief Bermudez disapproved of the entertainment and the crowd, and decided to write a complaint to the SLA accusing Bracco’s of all types of misconduct, including anything and everything he could possibly think of to pile on.”

Rosenberg said the bar’s owners have not yet ruled out possible legal action against Bermudez or the village. The lawsuit, filed on April 24, is only against the liquor authority.

State liquor authority officials declined to comment on the filing, citing pending litigation. Freeport village representatives could not be reached for comment.

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