Home Seaside Heights & Seaside Park Government Last Call: Bamboo, Karma Up for Bankruptcy Auction Along With Liquor License

Last Call: Bamboo, Karma Up for Bankruptcy Auction Along With Liquor License

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A sign advertising a bankruptcy auction at Bamboo in Seaside Heights, March 2019. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A sign advertising a bankruptcy auction at Bamboo in Seaside Heights, March 2019. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

As floats, bands and banner-holders march down the Boulevard on Saturday for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, two iconic bars – perhaps relics of a time in Seaside Heights that no longer exists – will be closed.

Bamboo and Karma, both owned by John Saddy, are bankrupt and under the jurisdiction of a court-appointed monitor. Both nightclubs, a liquor license and several small parcels of land owned by the same Saddy-linked company will be sold to the highest bidder March 26.

Borough officials had no formal statements on the matter as Saddy is still, despite being bankrupt, pursuing several lawsuits against the borough and individual borough officials, accusing them of discrimination over the genre of music that was often played at the clubs. But expert sources say little is likely to come of the actions, which were filed in the wake of the town’s non-renewal of Karma’s liquor license after the club allegedly allowed underage patrons to drink at a party in 2018, where there were also reported EMS calls for substance abuse issues. Saddy was previously held liable for abuse of process in a previous lawsuit brought by a customer.

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Bamboo and Karma will be auctioned off separately by The Auctioneers Group. Both properties have a minimum opening bid of $1.2 million. The liquor license for Bamboo will have a starting bid of $450,000; the fate of the license from Karma is still in litigation after the non-renewal.

Three vacant lots – 117 Webster Avenue, 125 Webster Avenue and 126 Hamilton Avenue – are also on the auction block, with minimum bids of $100,000, $75,000 and $50,000, respectively.

The auction will be held March 26 at 1 p.m. on the premises of Bamboo.

The status of the nightclubs has long been questioned, especially after both stopped keeping regular hours and were opened less frequently in recent years. At one point, the clubs served patrons year-round, then eventually moved to a seasonal schedule before closing. Bamboo once hosted parties advertised as “18 to party, 21 to drink,” where underage customers entered a separate entrance and did not receive a wristband. But Seaside Heights, as part of a larger redevelopment effort to crack down on rowdy bars, drug use and underage drinking, banned the practice after the 2018 incident at Karma.

Borough officials have retained a redevelopment firm to focus on the Boulevard business district. While the ultimate fate of the nightclubs will depend on their eventual new owner or owners, Seaside Heights leaders are encouraging mixed use development – retail or a restaurant on the first level and residential units above – and have retained a firm to guide them through a larger renewal of the district.