No decision from board on hookah lounge’s fate

Violence continues to erupt on Federal Hill, where a woman was assaulted in the bathroom of Skarr Lounge.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Providence Board of Licenses held another fiery hearing Thursday on the fate of a Federal Hill nightclub, but in the end no decision was made.

The city wants the board to revoke Skarr Lounge’s license, citing violence, smoking violations, and noise complaints at the Atwells Avenue establishment.

Before any closing arguments were heard on the issue, Skarr Lounge’s attorney, Peter Petrarca, asked chair Johanna Harris to recuse herself from the hearing, but she refused.

“I’m asking you to recuse. If you don’t recuse, I’m telling you now, tomorrow I’m going to superior court to get a restraining order and an injunction to force you to recuse, because it’s impossible for you to be impartial at this time,” said Petrarca.

Petrarca said he’s asking for the recusal because he filed an unrelated ethics complaint against Harris.

“I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, it doesn’t affect how I decide these cases,” Harris responded. “In fact, I have a duty to not recuse myself because I think I have the expertise and the fairness to render decisions. So he is dead wrong that this has any effect.”

Skarr Lounge’s owner, Gian Marrocco, declined to comment on the request or on the hearing for his business.

The board is scheduled to make its decision by next Thursday.

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