PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence nightclub with a yearslong history of violent incidents and creating what city officials described as “a death trap” is likely to remain closed, Target 12 has learned.
Legacy Lounge was set to appear before the R.I. Department of Business Regulation on Wednesday to appeal a Providence Board of Licenses decision in July to revoke the club’s licenses and prohibit it from applying for a license for a minimum of one year.
About an hour before the meeting, however, DBR posted a notice on its website showing the hearing had been canceled.
“Today, counsel for Legacy Lounge informed the hearing officer that the matter has been resolved; He will be submitting a proposed dismissal order,” R.I. Commerce spokesperson Matthew Touchette told Target 12.
Legacy Lounge owner Gladys Macedo subsequently told Target 12 that the club “is closed forever.”
Nick Hemond, who represents the club, said an agreement has not been finalized with the city and discussions are ongoing. But he said he didn’t believe any resolution would result in the club reopening.
Patricia Socarras, the city’s director of communications, told Target 12 on Thursday that the club is surrendering its licenses.
On June 24, police went to the Legacy Lounge for a compliance check at 1:20 a.m. The nightclub was operating under a 20-day reduction of hours as a result of a previous incident.
When police arrived, officers said they were unable to access the premises as a result of metal gates and hurricane-style shutters pulled down over the windows and front door of the building. Police also said the front door was padlocked from the outside, making it impossible for anyone from the inside to exit through the front of the building.
At some point, police said a woman left the building and they heard loud music, leading them to a back door. It was only after repeated banging on the door that police said they were able to get inside. They reported discovering between 15 and 20 people inside after the club was supposed to be closed.
Police said that when they asked club personnel how someone would exit the establishment, they were told the doors had been locked from the outside in an effort to deceive police into thinking the club was closed.
At a July show-cause hearing before the city’s Board of Licenses, Chairman Dylan Conley said there had been “no less than 13 incidents” at Legacy Lounge from Jan. 31, 2019, to April 29, 2023. He said those violations included at least six instances of violence, some of which involved weapons including a knife and a gun.
Additionally, the club had been penalized for multiple violations of bottle service and entertainment without a license, in addition to not having a functional kitchen on the premises, according to the city.
As a result, Conley said the club had been fined $4,500 and had 34 days since 2019 where the establishment had to close as a result of those violations.
“These penalties are significant for consideration since they resulted in neither deterring nor performing the behavior of the licensee,” Conley said at the hearing.
In considering a total revocation of the club’s licenses, the board said the harm posed by the violations was “extreme,” and the public safety concerns were “significant.” Conley also pointed out that the club owner’s conduct admitted “a deliberate attempt to deceive the police and violate an order of the board without concern for the safety of the patrons.”
The board also moved to require a “thorough review of the fitness” of the licensee if they were to reapply after one year.
After the show-cause hearing in July, R.I. Fire Marshal Timothy McLaughlin told 12 News not only is the building not equipped with sprinklers, but patrons would have no way to escape if there were a fire.
Conley also pointed out club’s actions to evade police “resulted in the creation of a potential death trap,” comparing the dangerousness to the Station nightclub fire in 2003.