Updates on 2500 N. Ashland - Dinner & A Movie
Thanks to all of you who reached out concerning Dinner and a Movie at 2500 N. Ashland. We appreciate your emails, calls, and visits. It is important to have the community involved when dealing with issues that affect our community, especially when it comes to public safety and gun violence. 

This weekend, after a shooting occurred at 2500 N. Ashland, the 19th Police District Commander Chris Papaioannou issued a summary closure of the business. A fight that started inside the business then escalated outside and shots were fired in direct relation to the activity of the patrons of the business. I believe the Commander made the right decision and I applaud his effort to curb violence in our neighborhoods.

A summary closure allows for a temporary closure by police due to public safety concerns. While a summary closure could last up to 6 months, at this point we do not know how long this closure will be. Per the ordinance, the licensee has up to 3 days to appeal the decision at an administrative hearing. Currently, we do not know if and when that will take place, but will update you as we know more. You can read more about summary closures at the bottom of this email. I have also asked Commissioner Escareno at the Dept. of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) and the Local Liquor Commissioner Shannon Trotter to inform us of any three day requests by the owner(s) or attorneys of Dinner and a Movie.

This business was put on my radar a few weeks ago by neighbors who were concerned that the business was not operating as a restaurant as advertised. I requested the police, BACP, and liquor commissioner look into the case. Commander Papaioannou spoke to the owner directly and the police have responded to calls for service there. I have also spent several hours at night at the location viewing the quality of life problems created by the business, forwarded all available web related content (i.e. no food menu), social media content, and outside video from the location to the Police and Liquor Commissioner, to indicate a failure to follow a City Plan of Operation stating it was a restaurant that was imposed by the Liquor Commissioner at opening. 

I should point out that contrary to what may have been said to certain residents, City Council members do not have any direct authority to shut down any business, and we have limited ability to revoke licenses based on the strength of state liquor laws. The tool for Aldermen to address problem businesses is the Community Meeting process initiated through the Public Nuisance Ordinance

The community meeting process includes my office, the police, BACP, the business owner, and the residents. The purpose of these meetings is to allow community members to discuss the problems stemming from the business and how it affects them personally. The idea is that the meetings should help the business owner address and fix the problems, such as noise and litter. Unfortunately, in this case, the issues are much larger. The meetings are ongoing and end either when the various parties come to an agreement on the improvement of operations at a business or, if no improvement is made, there can be a petition issued for license revocation by BACP. This is not a short process, but if there is enough participation from community members, it can be a successful process.

As of today, I am disappointed to report that the business owner has not contacted our office to discuss this weekend's incidents or any other previous issues. I am assuming that an appeal will be filed on the summary closure. I was able to speak with the building owner and updated her on the situation and asked her to take our concerns and how it negatively affects the neighborhood very seriously.

The next steps residents to take are as follows:

1) Send any evidence you have from calls or contact with the police/911, including any video, to the 19th District at Aaron.Levine@chicagopolice.org and cc Elizabeth Gomez in my office - elizabeth@ward32.org.  

2) Prepare a letter or email to provide to the liquor commissioner about the quality of life issues you have with the operation of the business.

3) Inform other adjacent neighbors and ask them to attend the community meeting.

4) Send our office a copy of anything you send so we can compile all concerns and make sure there is a comprehensive file to hand over during any hearings.

I appreciate your participation and patience as we go through these next steps. We will update you when we get more information. Feel free to contact my office if you have further questions.

Thanks for your concern,

Scott Waguespack, Alderman

Attachments/links:

Email police issues in general: CAPS.019District@chicagopolice.org
Email police video or details: Aaron.Levine@ChicagoPolice.org
32nd Ward Office: Elizabeth@ward32.org or info@ward32.org
Liquor Commissioner Trotter: Shannon.Trotter@cityofchicago.org
BACP: rosa.escareno@cityofchicago.org
Property Owner: Ms. Stamelos- Megara Properties in Northbrook, IL 847-205-0450
Business Owner: Rashad Bailey rashadbailey34@yahoo.com

Community Meeting July 23rd @11 am notice:
Join on Webex
Meeting number (access code): 146 939 8308
Meeting password: 08122021 
Plan of Operation for 2500 N Ashland 11-19-20

Summary Closure Outline:

1)   The Superintendent of Police (via the Commander of the 19th District) has determined that this establishment presents a public safety threat due to a violent offense occurring at this establishment during the establishment’s operating hours, involving the licensee/owner, or its employees, agents, or patrons, or otherwise involving circumstances having a connection to the operation of this establishment. The Superintendent of Police has determined that continued operation of this establishment presents a danger to the public and has ordered its Summary Closure.

2)   The licensee/owner has the right to request in writing, within three business days after notice is posted, a probable cause hearing before the mayor to determine whether a public safety threat occurred. If requested in writing, a probable cause hearing shall be commenced within three business days of receipt of such request. A decision shall be announced no later than two business days after the hearing is completed. The hearing takes place in the Administrative Hearings department. https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/ah.html

3)   The licensee/owner has the right, at any time during the period of closure, to seek to resume business activities at the establishment, by requesting, in writing, a nuisance abatement hearing before the mayor to contest whether a public safety threat occurred or to rebut the Superintendent’s determination that continued operation of the establishment presents a danger to the public. If requested in writing, a nuisance abatement hearing shall be commenced by the Liquor Commissioner within five business days of receipt of such request. A decision shall be announced no later than three business days after the hearing is completed.