Citations issued against reported social club in Jefferson Park
by BRIAN NADIG
The city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection recently issued cease and desist orders against social club operators in Jefferson Park and Belmont Heights.
A social club opened last summer at 4801 N. Milwaukee Ave., the former site of a Moroccan restaurant. In August, a sign was posted stating that the Sahara restaurant would be opening there, but it never did, and the club reportedly continued to operate.
Renovations were made inside the building, and card-playing tables and ashtrays could be seen inside the club. Officers issued citations to the club last year, according to 16th (Jefferson Park) District police, but details of the citations were not available.
Last month officers broke up a party at the club in response to a complaint, police said. No arrests were reported, but officers issued citations for not having tavern and public place of amusement licenses, and a subsequent cease and desist order was issued, said department spokeswoman Mika Stambaugh.
Citations also were issued in response to reports of rats behind the club, said Alderman John Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh. A pile of frozen trash, including food and liquor bottles, was found behind the building, he said.
The site’s B1-2 zoning does not allow for private clubs.
The Lawrence-Milwaukee business district has been plagued with unlicensed clubs in the past 5 years, and in one instance a suspected drug dealer was shot shortly after he left the club which he had been operating at the intersection, according to police.
Meanwhile, a cease and desist order recently was issued for the Hideout Social Club at 3205-07 N. Opal Ave., said alderman Timothy Cullerton (38th). Cullerton is downzoning the property from B1-1, which permits retail uses, to RT4, which is intended for multi-family residential use and which is the zoning for neighboring properties on the block.
Cullerton said that he hopes the rezoning would “flush out” the property’s owner so that he can meet with him. Officers recently issued citations, including operating without a liquor license, after officers saw 25 people leave the club and board a bus, Cullerton said.
Residents have complained about “people, some with children in tow, going in and out of the club all hours of the day and night,” Cullerton said. There also were reports of individuals who were seen trying to break into parked cars near the club, he said.