Tax-Delinquent Bar Owner Allegedly Allows Patrons to Urinate, Deal Drugs Outside

The University City Review has a thorough, almost hermeneutical explication of the war that’s raging between the owner of the bar Watutsi II on 45th and Locust, Noel Karasanyi, and the two civic associations–Spruce Hill and Walnut Hill–who oppose him. Some of the complaints are about issues people simply have to put up with as a result of city living, i.e., a bar playing loud music until closing on Wednesday and Saturday nights. If that were all, it would be easier to swallow.

But neighbors claim there’s much more going on. According to UC Review, here are some of the allegations neighbors have made:

1. The bar stays open after 2 a.m. illegally
2. Patrons carry open containers out of the bar
3. Patrons “routinely” urinate outside
4. Patrons smoke marijuana outside.
5. There are open-air drug sales.
6. There are “physical assaults” outside the bar.
7. The bar has no Dumpster.
8. Staff and patrons throw trash on the sidewalk.
9. Bartenders put the bar’s trash in front of various residences in the area.

From UC Review:

Over the last several years, members of both organizations have lodged hundreds if not thousands of phone calls to the police, 311 and L & I over Watusi II. But according to residents, nothing substantial has been done by law enforcement to address the above complaints.

That is certainly changing, though a permanent solution may take time.

A few days ago, a red and white L&I Cease and Desist order went up on the building’s facade, citing the business for an expired food license. If that’s not renewed, Karasanyi will have to close. If he does renew it, however, he buys himself some time–even though he owes about $30,000 in property taxes on the building. For that reason, the building was supposed to go to Sheriff’s Sale. Then, mysteriously, it vanished from the list. The two civics recently hosted a meeting with some city and state reps to discuss the problem, and were given assurance that it would be on the list next time–probably nine months from now.

Meanwhile, there are other options: Have the situation investigated by Narcotics, or get the Streets Department on him about the trash. Work with the DA to file a forfeiture. Or, the DA’s rep told residents, they could file a 611.

“If we can say the owner hasn’t complied with X, Y and Z, we can file an injunctive action. This means the property will be padlocked for a year. And the owner will have to go through the renewal process. This is financially decimating for an owner.”

But, as with other things, it won’t happen immediately:

Jeff Lawrence from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said that the process for shutting down an establishment guilty of liquor violations “is slow. First we meet with the owner. Does he realize that there are many people involved who are opposed?”

Those in attendance responded in disbelief. One resident described the pipe attached to the window at Karasanyi’s Third World Lounge on Catherine Street. The bar’s patrons stand at the window and pee through it. “People are literally peeing on their neighbors,” the resident said.

Whatever else his faults, Karasanyi seems to have an especial problem with providing sufficient bathroom facilities.

Spruce Hill and Walnut Hill join forces to fight alleged nuisance bar [UC Review]