Congress Theater Should Be Shut Down Immediately, City Court Filing Says

By Kyla Gardner on April 17, 2013 7:29pm | Updated on April 18, 2013 8:58am

 The Congress Theater at 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The Congress Theater at 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave.
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DNAinfo/Victoria Johnson

CHICAGO — The Congress Theater should immediately be closed because of building code and safety violations, the city said in court documents filed against its embattled owner Eddie Carranza.

The motion, which will be heard by Cook County Judge James McGing at 11 a.m. Thursday, seeks an injunction that would not let anyone "rent, use, lease, or occupy the entire Congress theater."

If Carranza doesn't vacate the premises, police would be authorized to remove him, documents state.

Carranza did not immediately respond to a request for a comment Wednesday night.

The motion, filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court, called the Congress Theater a "public nuisance" and said that allowing it to remain open "poses a continued harm to the occupants and the public."

An April 3 inspection of the theater by the Department of Buildings, Fire and Health found multiple "dangerous and hazardous violations," the court filing stated.

Among the problems cited were a dangerous electrical system, bare electrical cables and defective lights in the theater, second-floor bathroom and second-floor projection room.

The inspectors also found missing fire extinguishers, exposed insulation, a lack of carbon monoxide detectors and obstructed exits.

"There is no railing system to prevent falling in either the balcony or the VIP room," the motion said.

The motion also states the ventilation system does not work.

"There is no fresh air supply to patrons, nor is there any exhaust of polluted air from the theater," the motion said.

Carranza faced his second disciplinary hearing before the Liquor Control Commission in late March, which could decide to revoke his license. Several weeks earlier, Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) said he believed the theater was making steps in the right direction.

The theater also was threatened with foreclosure in November alleging Carranza defaulted on his loans, but Carranza said he never missed a payment.

The venue was scheduled to host country singer Easton Corbin Thursday night.

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