D’Noche owner indicted for attempting to bribe SLA official
by Daniel P. Bader
Annie Guerrero, owner of the controversial D'Noche restaurant that recently opened at 213 Sherman Avenue, has been indicted for attempting to bribe a State Liquor Authority official.
Guerrero, 34, and Maria Elena Nunez, 51, the owner of #1 Business Solutions, a company that helps businesses expedite their liquor license applications, allegedly conspired between January 2009 and February 2009 to offer an official at the SLA $5,000 to avoid a full SLA board review of the application for a license for D'Noche.
Nunez did not carry out the agreement but attempted to steal the money from Guerrero, allegedly pocketing the money and telling Guerrero she could not avoid a full board hearing.
SLA Spokesperson William Crowley wouldn’t comment on D’Noche or Guerrero because the authority is still gathering information about the case. However, she could face an “improper conduct charge” from the authority and lose her liquor license.
The charges came from an investigation from the Manhattan district attorney and state inspector general's joint long-term investigation into alleged corruption at the New York State Liquor Authority.
On Oct. 26 Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat protested with community leaders outside the restaurant after he learned the restaurant had not appeared before Community Board 12 during the application process, as is required by law.
A spokesperson from the SLA said the agency received three letters from June 2008, from former Council Member Miguel Martinez, former Community Board 12 Chair Manny Velazquez and Church of St. Jude pastor Elias Isla, which constituted community input for the license.
On Nov. 9 Velazquez was admonished by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for writing the letter. Citing personal reasons, Velazquez resigned his chairmanship the next day. The Manhattan Times is the bilingual newspaper of Washington Heights and Inwood.