WHITE PLAINS — A Muslim doctor and owner of a popular French restaurant in Ossining is suing town officials in federal court, claiming that attempts by the town to enforce its cabaret law are unconstitutional and discriminatory.
Dr. Syed Nayeem of New Rochelle took ownership of Maison Lafitte in February 2001. He said that shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks the town began cracking down on events that involved live music.
Specifically, he cited a Sept. 14, 2001, Indian wedding party during which neighbors complained of noise and inappropriate timing, believing that it was a Middle Eastern celebration.
Nayeem said that the previous owner, Giovanni Susech, who ran the venue for more than 30 years, had never had a cabaret license nor was he required to have one. Nayeem also maintains that other restaurants in the unincorporated area of the town do not have a cabaret license and frequently have live music.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Robinson heard testimony from several witnesses yesterday, including waiters and musicians employed at the establishment for 20 to 30 years, who said that it wasn't until Nayeem took over Maison Lafitte that the trouble with having live music began...