Michael Roth, the outgoing chairman of the NY State Liquor Authority accused Judge Hyman Korn of State Supreme Court of being “influenced” by the chic clientele of Studio 54 – when he ordered the club be granted a liquor license.
He also asserted the DA Morgenthau had impeded the authority’s crackdown on unlicensed bottle clubs in the city by refusing to prosecute two owners of the disco for selling liquor without a license.
Roy Cohn, who represented Studio after the SLA denied the disco a license, submitted with his arguments a long list of politicians, actors, actresses and other people described as “members of New York society” who were said to patronize the club. Included in the list were Jacqueline Onassis and members of the Kennedy, Carey and Rockefeller families, Bella Abzug, Borough President Percy Sutton, Deputy Mayor Stanely Friedman, Woody Allen, Jack Nicholson, Truman Capote, Frank Sinatra and Liza Minelli. Andy Warhol and Calvin Klein signed affidavits supporting the club’s appeal.
The club applied for a license April 14. In April and May the club was granted several one-night catering permits allowing it to sell liquor but, according to Roth, these were abused and the club was denied permits to sell liquor for the weekend of May 20 to 22. Rubell and Schrager were arrested after Roth was sold two drinks on the 21st.
On August 12 the SLA voted 3 to 2 to refuse the license.
The club told Judge Korn that the disco had improved the neighborhood and that denial of the liquor license would endanger an investment of $397,000.
excerpt from NYT 11/15/77