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Portage Park Night Club Loses Liquor License After Years of Complaints

  The owner of the Milwaukee Avenue club had appealed the revocation, which is now final.
Portage Park Night Club Loses Liquor License After Years of Complaints
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PORTAGE PARK — The Capitol Club, which has long been the subject of complaints about noise, traffic and drunk revelers, was shut down this week by city officials after it had its liquor license revoked.

City officials pasted a bright-orange "revoked" sticker on the club's front door at 4244 N. Milwaukee Ave., and no one answered the club's phone or door Friday. 

Club owner Chester Kiercul could not be reached for comment Friday.

The club, which bills itself as the premier Polish nightclub in Chicago and caters to the large population of Eastern European immigrants on Chicago's far Northwest Side, had its license revoked in September. It remained open while it appealed that decision.

The city's liquor license appeal commission upheld the revocation in April, finding Kiercul did not cooperate with police during an investigation of an attack at the club in December 2009 that left a man bleeding all over the club's floor.

Kiercul has sued the city to overturn the revocation, but the club was closed this week after the appeals commission's decision went into effect, said Jennifer Lipford, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.

The club could ask a judge to allow it to open while the court case proceeds, but it was unclear Friday afternoon whether Kiercul had made that request, Lipford said.

The liquor commission also fined Kiercul $1,500 for having a sign in the public way without a permit and $500 for not having the proper tax stamp on a pool table.

The liquor commission ruled Kiercul deserved to lose his license because he did not provide surveillance video taken inside the club at the time of the attack to police, despite officers' repeated requests.

It also yanked Kiercul's license because he directed one of his employees to clean up the blood on the club's floor after the attack.

The city requires liquor license holders to report all illegal activity to police immediately and to cooperate with officers.

According to his testimony to the liquor commission, Kiercul said he told officers the club's surveillance cameras were dirty, but never refused to hand over the footage.

The appeals commission ruled that since there was no evidence the cleanup of the blood impeded the police investigation of the attack, Kiercul's actions did not violate the terms of his liquor license.

However, the commission upheld the license revocation based on Kiercul's handling of the video footage.

The club, which has been open for 26 years, has been the subject of repeated complaints from neighbors since the early 1990s, and has been cited numerous time by the city for building violations.