Hookah lounge allowed to continue operation for final month

The Dearborn City Council questions attorney Clarence Dass (right) and 360 Hookah Lounge owner Taofik Muflihi regarding several issues at the establishment over the past year during a hearing at the Dearborn Administrative Center on June 27.

The Dearborn City Council questions attorney Clarence Dass (right) and 360 Hookah Lounge owner Taofik Muflihi regarding several issues at the establishment over the past year during a hearing at the Dearborn Administrative Center on June 27.

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The 360 Hookah Lounge, 13901 Michigan Ave., was granted permission to continue operating for the next month after the city council gathered for a public hearing following a complaint by the city’s Legal and Police departments.

As a result of the complaint being made to the nuisance abatement board, the council met as the board to determine if the lounge’s license would be revoked or to determine if the lounge was indeed a nuisance business.

Attorney Clarence Dass said the lounge owner, Taofik Muflihi, was planning to sell the business just before the hookah license expires on July 30.

Dass and Muflihi asked the council to allow the business to operate until that time while the hookah lounge is listed for sale.

During the June 27 hearing at the Dearborn Administrative Center, Dearborn Corporation Counsel Laurie Ellerbrake said there were 35 police runs within the past 12 months made to the lounge.

Some of the police reports were for noise complaints, shots fired, urinating in public, open intoxication, fighting in the parking lot, minor in possession of alcohol, weapons, drunken driving, marijuana possession and littering.

A notice was sent to the hookah lounge regarding the complaints on June 6 and police still made runs to the business for similar incidents following the notice.

Dass addressed the complaints listed by Ellerbrake —which he said were not on the hookah lounge property — were after closing time and that the complaints did not materialize once police responded to the scene.+

A corrective action plan with steps to address complaints are doubling up on security guards, no longer allowing outside beverage bottles, installation of cameras, no live entertainment and providing council with a real estate contact for the business listing.

The hookah lounge already had two security guards and hired two additional guards on June 6 who are required to document any issues along with calling police to report incidents.

As a suggestion by the council, Muflihi agreed to have the four security guards during all business hours from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week.

When Councilman Robert Abraham asked if the lounge would close at midnight instead of 2 a.m., Muflihi said it wouldn’t because of possible loss in revenue.

The live DJ entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays will no longer be allowed at the hookah lounge under the corrective plan.

At the hearing, police officers said they observed people dumping bottles of water and orange juice near the hookah lounge and then purchase alcohol from a nearby liquor store to pour into the bottles.

Those same people would then enter the lounge — which does not have a liquor license — with the bottles that have the presumed alcohol.

Muflihi said he will continue to have security guards pat down customers before entering the hookah lounge and ask for identification before allowing them inside along with no longer allowing any bottles with liquid from the outside.

At the end of the hearing, a motion to adjourn until Aug.1 was made by Councilman Michael Sareini and supported by Councilwoman Leslie Herrick. A role call vote was taken and Council members Abraham, Erin Byrnes, and David Bazzy voted against, but the remaining four council members voted to pass the motion.

Over the next month, the Police and Legal departments will continue to monitor the hookah lounge for additional incidents which could lead to an immediate shut down before Aug. 1.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)

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