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Karma Liquor License Renewal Denied; Court Date Set to Decide Nightclub’s Fate

The Karma nightclub in Seaside Heights, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The Karma nightclub in Seaside Heights, June 6, 2018. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

As Seaside Heights officials continue their campaign to transform the borough into a family-friendly resort, one of the remaining vestiges of the MTV “Jersey Shore” era may soon be relegated to the history books.

Karma, a nightclub owned by local businessman John Saddy, had its annual liquor license renewal for denied by the Seaside Heights council on Wednesday, as borough officials announced a court date had been set for a judge to consider an outright closure of the establishment.

The legal process of shutting down the club consists of two related, but separate, actions. The liquor license renewal was denied Wednesday, and a special public hearing on the matter – in accordance with state law – will be held July 3 at 1 p.m. Before that takes place, however, a superior court judge will hear arguments on the borough’s motion seeking an emergency injunction against Karma with the intent of prohibiting its ability to operate.

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Likewise, Karma is facing two different allegations of violating local laws.

The basis for the liquor license denial was numerous alleged violations arising out of the Hyperglow party held on May 27-28 during Memorial Day weekend. Borough officials have said the event included multiple incidents of underage drinking, several drug overdoses and the allowance of minors inside the club.

The request for injunctive relief to physically shut down the nightclub is based on an alleged violation of the borough land use code. A 2008 approval for Karma states that the facility must operate a “full restaurant service to be run by an independent restaurateur on the first level.” Until this season, the popular Savor restaurant was located adjacent to the nightclub, but its owners closed after, sources said, Saddy would not offer them a guaranteed lease for the season since the building is for sale.

A 2002 approval by the borough stated that “the bar portion of the proposal is of a more answering nature to the principal use as a dining/banquet facility.”

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