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Voltage granted 30-day reprieve on revoked liquor license

Bars and ClubsCourts and the Judiciary

A Baltimore judge on Friday allowed the Voltage nightclub to continue serving alcohol for 30 days pending appeal of a decision a day earlier to revoke the club's license, according to the city liquor board chairman.

The Baltimore Liquor Board on Thursday afternoon pulled the license to serve alcohol of Voltage, a large dance club in the Baltimore Travel Plaza in Southeast Baltimore. The board cited consecutive weekends where there were violations, including a shooting on the dance floor.

Owner Louis Principio III vowed to appeal, and liquor board chairman Stephan Fogleman said that appeal was filed Friday afternoon and heard by Circuit Judge Alfred Nance within hours.

According to Fogleman, Nance granted a "stay" on the decision, ordering that Voltage can continue to serve alcohol for 30 days as it pursues the challenge.

Fogleman said Nance told the club he would revoke that stay if there were further violations.

Neither Principio nor his attorneys could be reached for comment Friday night.

Fogleman said the judge's decision to grant the stay came particularly quickly.

"In the seven years I've been on the liquor board, I cannot recall a time where a request for a stay had been held in less than three days, let alone 24 hours," Fogleman said. "Judge Nance indicated that this appeal will happen within 30 days, which has also never happened before in the seven years I've been on the board."

Principio, a former owner of the famed Hammerjacks rock venue, opened Voltage in October 2012 and told the board that he believed he had more than adequate security. He said the club attracts hundreds of patrons, including through a popular college night, and bills itself as the largest in the city.

The board cited Voltage for violations that occurred over a 30-day span starting in November, including large, unruly crowds and an incident in which Principio drove a golf cart around a crowd of patrons spraying pepper spray and incapacitating a uniformed police officer.

Principio said the pepper-spray incident was an accident.

jfenton@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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