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Troubled Capitol Club in Portage Park Shut Down for Good, Alderman Says

By Heather Cherone | November 4, 2013 7:39am
 The Capitol Club, in the Six Corners shopping district in Portage Park, has for years been the subject of complaints from nearby residents.
The Capitol Club, in the Six Corners shopping district in Portage Park, has for years been the subject of complaints from nearby residents.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

PORTAGE PARK — The Capitol Club, which has long been the subject of complaints about noise, traffic and drunken revelers, is closed for good, according to Ald. John Arena (45th).

"The long saga of this troubled establishment is now over," Arena said.

But Chester Kiercul — who has owned the nightclub for 32 years — said he was weighing whether to file another appeal of the decision by city officials to yank his liquor license after a violent incident that left the club's dance floor covered in blood.

"My attorney screwed up," Kiercul said. "He missed the deadline to file the appeal by two days."

Kiercul said he would decide what to do in the next 30 days.

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 2012. It remained open until July while it appealed that decision.

It reopened Oct. 4 after the appeal was filed, and closed again last week.

The city liquor appeals commission ruled that Kiercul should lose his ability to sell alcohol for failing to cooperate with police during an investigation of an attack at the club in December 2009 that left a man bleeding on the club's floor.

Arena said he used the city's nuisance ordinances to address the numerous complaints about the club, as well as concerns about several violent incidents.

"The goal was to compel him to implement security and business practices that would eliminate the negative issues his establishment was causing," Arena said. "But his history caught up to him. The incident that brought about the revocation illustrated the lengths he would go to in order to avoid the responsibility that comes with controlling a liquor license in Chicago. "

Kiercul said Arena was anti-business and had treated him and his business unfairly.

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

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

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.

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

The club has been cited numerous times by the city for building violations.

Arena said his office would continue to monitor the building, which has other tenants, and work with Kiercul to address the issues.