PNA officials shut down Monessen lodge
The Polish National Alliance Lodge 1146 in Monessen will remain closed until organization officials meet with members and trustees of the club, according to the PNA's district officer.
The lodge, located at 214 Knox Ave., was shut down last week by District 8 Commissioner David Sinclair after he received complaints from a former officer at the club, as well as several longtime members.
Sinclair said the PNA's national bylaws allow for the organization to shut down lodges and even revoke memberships over misconduct.
Monessen police Chief John Mandarino said police have received numerous complaints – all within a three-week period – about disorderly crowds, loud noise, fights, and even reported gunshots at the club.
Monessen police and two State Police Liquor Control Enforcement agents issued warnings to club officials in the early morning of Aug. 25. One intoxicated woman was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct when she refused to leave the club earlier that night.
“The PNA is a great fraternal organization and we don't need those kinds of problems being associated with the organization,” Sinclair said. “We do a lot of good things for the community. How the public views us is very important.”
Monessen police received four separate calls for disturbances at the club Aug. 23, Mandarino said.
Police have also received reports of the club operating after 3:30 a.m. – the state-mandated closing time for private clubs.
The LCE had said it would interview neighbors and conduct an investigation to determine if the club would be classified as a nuisance bar, but that was before PNA officials intervened.
Mandarino said there were no such issues with the club until a recent wave of complaints that began more than a month ago.
“I can't think of having one (police) call a year at that location before, let alone four in one day,” Mandarino said Monday. “Really, it wasn't my intention to have them close, but you have to consider the safety and concerns of the residents of that neighborhood first and foremost.”
Sinclair said the lodge's management had recently “broken down” after officers resigned or were no longer able to be involved in day-to-day operations. He said the PNA will send out letters to all lodge members and conduct a meeting in the near future.
Any reopening of the lodge would have to meet the approval of the PNA's home office in Chicago as well, Sinclair said.
“As commissioner, I have the authority to close a club but the members will have the ultimate say so on whether it stays closed,” Sinclair said. “We don't want our clubs to operate that way. Until we gain control of the situation, it will remain locked up.”
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2635.