The Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs has revoked the business license of Metropolis Lounge, a Sub Base, St. Thomas, nightclub that had become a hub of crime and violent activity, according to DLCA.
In a statement released Thursday, DLCA said the Metropolis Lounge, owned by Hugo Rios, will no longer be allowed to operate because of a string of attacks that took place on its premises soon after it opened its doors, and the owner’s ineffective response to those incidents,
DLCA Commissioner Wayne Biggs had petitioned for an administrative hearing on June 20, asking to revoke the license granted Rios’ business in September. Hearing Officer James Kitson granted the DLCA request Aug. 23.
“If a business does not adhere to its responsibility to protect the public, its neighbors and the greater community in which it operates, then it must be deemed unworthy of being licensed in the Virgin Islands,” Gov. John deJongh said in a statement. “Commissioner Wayne Biggs acted in the best interest of the community when he petitioned for this administrative sanction and successfully shut down Metropolis Lounge.”
The Sub Base nightclub had several complaints filed alleging criminal activity. An illegal gun was recovered there, one man choked his ex-girlfriend, and another man assaulted a girlfriend by poking her in the face, according to DLCA.
On December 8, 2012, a man was fatally shot in the Metropolis parking lot. A month later, the establishment had to be evacuated at 3:30 in the morning because of a bomb threat.
All those incidents prompted Police Commissioner Rodney Querrard, Sr. to ask Biggs to take action to close the establishment to prevent it from further facilitating criminal activity and endangering patrons.
At the administrative hearing earlier this month, Rios testified by phone from off-island, saying he was unaware of the many problems and complaints involving his business. After the shooting, Rios said he changed his security team, tightened the screening process and added a camera at the front entrance.
"(D)espite such corrective measures as have been taken by defendant, violent crime continues to occur either in, or about, defendant’s night club,” Kitson wrote in his order revoking the license.