Town is battling West Hartford restaurant - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Town is battling West Hartford restaurant

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A West Hartford establishment is at the center of a court battle with the town.

Both sides were in court on Tuesday, as the town says the owner of Los Imperios is running an illegal nightclub, and has been ignoring town regulations.

"This owner immediately violated those regulations, we've ticketed him multiple times --- he has paid all his tickets...he's admitted to doing what we talked about,” said West Hartford Town Manager Ron Van Winkle.

This has also become a problem for nearby residents.

"People just stand outside in the street -- they are yelling, there's a lot of screaming and fighting too,” said Elizabeth Daley, of West Hartford.

Daley lives around the block from Los Imperios, which is a place that calls itself a Peruvian restaurant.

She said people wander out of the establishment around 2 a.m., drunk and smashing liquor bottles in the street.

The owner, Ernesto Leon, was arrested for assault over the weekend. Police said he put his hands around a woman’s neck and pushed her.

Van Winkle said the owner has paid thousands in fines, and said West Hartford doesn’t allow nightclubs, but shortly after opening about three years ago, he said that’s what started.

He said Los Imperios asks for a cover charge, and they don’t allow people under 21 inside. He said they are offering bottle service, which means letting customers buy full bottles of liquor.

"He just thumbs his nose at the town and says ‘I am going to do this anyway’,’ Van Winkle said.

The town is now taking the owner to court, asking a judge to approve an injunction to stop them.

The owner’s attorney said “he is not operating a nightclub, he is operating a restaurant but also providing entertainment services.”

Neighbors said they just want this to stop.

Eyewitness News tried to speak to the owner but was told he wasn’t at the establishment.

If a judge agrees to the injunction, the business will have to stop what it’s doing or pay even bigger fines.

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