ROGERS PARK — A well-known bar on Morse Avenue continued to operate even after it failed to renew its business licenses, and owes the state more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes, according to officials and state records.
The Morseland, a neighborhood bar and restaurant at 1218 W. Morse Ave., closed down in early November.
"We’re still on the fence about whether or not we’re going to be opening," said Morseland owner Gregory Altman. "It’s a business decision any business owner has."
The bar and restaurant's business licenses expired on Oct. 15, and the city placed a hold on its account for owing taxes to the state, said Jennifer Lipford, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.
Altman hasn't applied for new licenses, she said.
In order for the hold to be lifted, she said, Altman would either have to pay the taxes or set up a payment plan.
Morseland Inc., of which Altman is president, was issued a state tax lien of $47,926 on March 7, 2011, and an additional lien of $57,607 on Nov. 8, 2012, according to state records.
Records show the liens are for unpaid sales and use taxes between the months of April 2009 and August of this year.
The Morseland also owes $1,100 in taxes to the city, Lipford said.
In addition, the Northbrook Bank and Trust Company filed a notice of foreclosure Aug. 28, on the bar's building.
Altman, Chicago Title Land Trust Co. and Altman Bowker Junkovic LLC., are listed as defendants on the notice filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County.
Altman declined to comment on the unpaid taxes and foreclosure.
Police issued the Morseland several citations in early November for operating without proper city licenses, according to police reports.
In the early morning hours of Nov. 2, police issued two citations for operating a business and serving alcohol with expired permits.
Police returned later that day at 11 p.m. and "learned that the business has been operating since Oct. 15, knowing their business license is expired," according to the reports.
Then, at 10 p.m. Nov. 3, police said food and alcohol were being served and a DJ was playing music at the bar. The bar's licenses were found "stacked in frames in a closet behind the bar."
Finally, at 2 p.m. Nov. 5, police issued another citation for serving food and alcohol to the public "without a license."