City suspends Island Belle docking permit after another brawl

NORWALK, Conn. – Another early morning incident aboard the Island Belle has led the city to temporarily suspend the party boat’s permit to use Norwalk’s Visitors Dock.

Mayor Harry Rilling took the action Monday morning after receiving a police report that a large number of fights had broken out on the boat when it arrived in Norwalk early Saturday after a party cruise. Onboard security called the Norwalk Police, which responded en masse.

“Early this morning I had discussions with the police chief and the director of Recreation and Parks,” Rilling said in an email response to NancyOnNorwalk. “Mike Mocciae has sent an email to Mr. Hart advising him his permit to use the city dock is temporarily suspended. We will be contacting the State Liquor Commission to advise them of yet another significant incident aboard the Island Belle.”

According to Norwalk Police spokesman Terry Blake, at 3:13 a.m. Saturday, “our officers were dispatched to the Veterans Park parking area adjacent to the boat dock for a large fight. When officers arrived, numerous people were found loitering about the lot and/or attempting to leave the lot. Island Belle security reported that as passengers disembarked a large fight broke out and then transformed into several smaller fights. When the people who were fighting heard the sirens approaching they began to disperse.”

Rilling said the situation required a large police presence – reports say the entire midnight shift responded – leaving the rest of the city at risk.

“The situation at Veteran’s Park needed a significant police response at 3:30 a.m.,” the mayor said. “Those officers were called to quell the large number of fights and disturbances occurring at that time. Those officers being diverted were not available to respond to other emergencies in the event they were needed.”

Rilling said the city also is looking into a claim that Ken Hart, whose Sound Charter Group runs the Island Belle and books the charters, chastised one of his security guards for calling the police.

“The guard was in a difficult situation since the security people hired by Mr. Hart were totally unable to deal with the large crowds and disturbances,” Rilling said.

The incident was the third involving the Island Belle and Norwalk Police this summer. On June 29, police responded to reports of a fight onboard as the boat pulled into Norwalk in the early morning hours and say they patrons engaged in a large-scale fight in the parking lot as they exited the boat. A month later, on July 27, Norwalk Police arrested a man who had been detained by onboard security when he reportedly brought a loaded gun aboard the boat shortly before it departed. The man was reportedly held in a closet on the boat until after the cruise, when he was arrested.


23 responses to “City suspends Island Belle docking permit after another brawl”

  1. EveT

    Thank goodness and good riddance.

  2. The Family Guy

    I feel sorry for the people who live in the SONO area especially the new residents at the Iron Works.
    Mike Mocciae doesn’t really give a darn about the residents near any city owned parks. If the residents in the area don’t like the sirens at 3:00 in the morning it’s tough luck. You live near a city owned park. Perhaps you should consider moving elsewhere. Mike Mocciae should NOT have been reappointed as head of Parks and Rec. Dept.

  3. Lifelong Teacher

    Bye bye. Go somewhere else with your low class brawling gun toting clientele.

  4. The Family Guy

    The article states that the Island Belle’s permit has TEMPORARILY been suspended. The only way this will permanently stop is when Norwalk gets a new Parks and Rec. director.

  5. OhNoNorwalk

    Look at the police doing the same thing on Washington st on the weekend.

  6. just curious

    Where has everyone that allowed and approved this gone? Seems they have all gone into hiding since the first incident in June.

    Has anyone looked into whether or not Moccaie even lives in Norwalk? I have no idea, but i’m betting he doesn’t and really doesn’t care what happens here in Norwalk.

  7. Suzanne

    Mike Moccaie is not the problem here: keep your eye on the ball. Mr. Hart and the lawlessness of the Island Belle is.

  8. Oldtimer

    Where does he (Hart) find these people ? He obviously needs better control on how much liquor is served. I wonder if he knows his liability under the liquor law if one of his passengers get hurt or killed after being served on the Island Belle ? Section 30-102 makes a permitee liable for up to $250,000 in damages to anybody injured by the act of anyone intoxicated as a result of being served by permitee. (summary of law, not exact quote) He stands considerable risk of losing his liquor licence.

  9. Oldtimer

    It might be helpful, if Hart is ever allowed back at Vet’s park, to supply police with a schedule and for police to routinely have a couple of police cars in the parking lot when the Island Belle arrived after a cruise. A visible police presence can be a great detterent.

  10. sofaman

    @Suzanne, with respect, I’d suggest that Mr. Moccaie is in fact the accomplice in all this as the notion that the Island Belle has worn out its welcome in Norwalk’s harbor is painfully obvious to everyone except him. I wonder why?

  11. One and Done.

    No arrests? All cars parked were legally registered? Everyone was at least 21? Everyone was sober enough to drive home? Or was this just another excuse for more overtime?

  12. Paul

    Our parks are being prostituted out on a daily basis for the almighty dollar. It’s become strictly a business.

  13. Masie

    You are right Family Guy. He has just gotten a special permit to install lights at Nathan Hale Middle School which will be allowed to be left on until 9pm. There goes the neighborhood! I too wonder where Mike Moccaie lives.

  14. Suzanne

    sofaman, are you saying Mr. Moccaie is receiving kick backs? Is somehow associated with Mr. Hart for some kind of monetary gain? What a conspiracy! I understand that Mr. Hart has been actively suing the City of Norwalk and that has limited what could actually be done with the Island Belle. Perhaps your veiled comment could be toned down a bit to reflect what you really mean? Whatever the case, there are many players in this dilemma, Mr. Moccaie being just one of them. You give him a great deal of power by claiming he has some definitive influence for some gain in this case.

  15. spanner

    a loaded registered gun

    minuutes before this a Norwalk land bar was still open serving I find that a problem yet it wasn’t the Belle and never made it into the news.

    The Belle can’t hire NPD for a detail or can they?Its interesting the bars in Norwalk have a lot of interest in this the boat comes back after closing so its not adding anything to the downtown booze connection Norwalk is known for.

    This security camera trained on the docks where the fire boats are must have some great footage any chance the public will get to see any of it?

    entire midnight shift responded? what about those held over to three to combat the regular bar closing Norwalk has that more often than not takes that entire shift and late cars to sometimes put down trouble Norwalks fine bars create.Norwalk police has a web page that shows these bars in the city are constantly responded to its not science Norwalk has a drinking problem.

    Its a drinking problem that adds to the crime in Norwalk and because its seems like the only business that Norwalk can actually support. NPD will continue to have bar closing sweeps and extra hire to maintain this sport,maybe if the boat comes in before last call the police will always be there for Fort Point and Sono bars making it feasable to control these extra events like the boat.

    NON does well to get the information its the Mayor and his force that sometimes leaves out facts that does change the way its percieved.

    All Hart has to do is get some footage on bars closing in Norwalk where out of control patrons use both the police and EMS to wrap up their evening.

    Is there stil a strip club by the docks?If the city is seeking a makeover maybe Deputy Mayor Rich can help them out.

  16. Mayor Harry, Step Up!

    Make it mandatory for the operator of the boat to hire a police detail on every single cruise.

    END – OF – STORY.

  17. EastNorwalkChick

    @Paul, completely agree with you, for some reason the City Council, the Parks & Recs Commission and Mr. Moccaie think that prostituting our parks is great idea. Go down to Shady Beach on the weekend its wall to wall people, how many of you posting here go to the beach on the weekends?
    Then look across to Taylor Farm Park to see how they have turned that into a parking lot for the “over flow”. They have decided to privatize our City’s assets and to heck with it residents who use these assets.
    And letting this party boat use the visitor’s dock again shows us that the almighty dollar means more to those in power here in the City than our quality of life and safety….

  18. Oldtimer

    Without being any fan of Mocciae’s, he has operated for years with the understanding that the City expected him to find a way to make the parks system become as close to self-supporting as possible. He has enthusiastically pursued that goal, with some success. The City not only gets the docking fee from the Island Belle, but gets a $10 parking fee from each of his customers (mostly cash). Some of us wonder how accurately that cash is accounted for, but there is no question it adds up. The council approved the terms of the agreement with Hart’s company, so the proposed income is no secret.

  19. peter parker

    Harry finally found a set! It’s about time! That permit should be revoked permanently. Get that boat out of our channel and our city.

  20. Casey Smith

    Oldtimer – I asked the very same question about the parking fees and was told that when the cash is tended, there is a two part ticket taken out. One part is given to the patron and it is placed on the dashboard to show that the fee was paid. The second half is retained by the employee for the records. Can the system be rigged? Of course it can. Thieves usually take time to figure out how to get around the system so they don’t get caught. However, I specifically did not ask about the protocol for handling the cash.

  21. Joe

    Can’t blame the city to finally do this….bars are different ….the water is a dangerous place…but stay tuned the hip hop belle is coming to a port near you !! Just bring your bullet proof vest

  22. Mary wise

    Isn’t this the same guy that disobeyed the acoe when it was deemed unsafe to be there? He’s got brass pair….wouldn’t be surprised if he picks up there with suspension

  23. Dennis DiManis

    These hundreds of drunk people, all beat up holding Kleenex against their faces then got into their cars to drive home. What kind of s__t is that? DUI is now OK as long as they get the h__l out of here? Why should Norwalk be complicit in that?

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