BALTIMORE - The owner of a controversial nightclub in Southeast Baltimore plans to appeal the revocation of his club’s liquor license.
On Thursday the Board of Liquor License Commissioners of Baltimore City voted to revoke the license from “Voltage” which bills itself as the largest nightclub in the city.
It was built into the former Baltimore Travel Plaza off of I-95.
The owner -- Louis Principio, whose father started "Hammerjack's" -- says Voltage drew more than 800 people a night.
“People go to my club to meet the opposite sex it's just that simple,” Principio said during the Liquor Board’s hearing.
Neighbors say the club had become a nuisance.
“The residents would call me and complain, they'd be woke up in the middle of the night from the helicopter because of breaking up the crowds, the bull horns, the sirens, the fighting the arguing. just loudness in general" said Joyce Adamski, the president of the Southeastern Police District Community Relations Council. “I feel that the neighborhoods are held hostage with this type of situation. Because their hands are tied. There's nothing that they can really do. I mean you can fight it and sometimes it takes years and years.”
It didn't take that long this time. The Liquor Board documented several large fights in November of last year.
“Basically what we're seeing is weekend after weekend you have combatants coming out of this bar every time. There's going to be a fight, something's going to happen in that parking lot, every single weekend,” said Steve Fogleman, chairman of the Liquor Board.
Then in December, a man was shot inside of the club. The shooting was caught by the club’s surveillance cameras; the victim survived.
Principio argued that his patrons are no more violent than fans at a ravens or orioles game.
“They're not really violent,” he said. “Hammerjack's was 1000 times worse than this. It's actually one of the best behaved nightclubs I've had. It's just that every incident is a major whoop-de-doo.”
He says he's spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on security, and asked for time to make more changes.
But in the end, Fogleman announced: “We believe that the public safety for Baltimore requires that this license be revoked here today.”
A sign on the door of the club Thursday night announced that it would be open on Friday. The owner has 30 days to appeal the Liquor Board's decision, and he plans to do that.
The Liquor Board has not decided whether the club will be allowed to serve alcohol during the appeal process.