CITY HALL — An alderman who had criticized a liquor store located in another alderman's ward said he was going to file a formal complaint about the store with the city.
Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) had threatened to take the matter to the council floor during a City Council meeting Wednesday, but instead said he would submit a formal letter to the Department of Business Affairs on the "deleterious" impact of Armitage Food, also known as the Lucky 7, at 3635 W. Armitage Ave. The store is on the border between his ward in Logan Square and that of Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th).
The aldermen have been sparring for weeks over the store. Moreno said Wednesday he had received complaints from his constituents about gang members loitering at the store, which technically sits in Maldonado's ward.
"Gangs don't know ward boundaries," Moreno said. He said he had tried to talk with Maldonado directly to rein in activity around the store, but his colleague had been unresponsive.
"He doesn't seem interested in the process, so I've got to move forward," Moreno said.
Moreno said his formal letter to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will call for hearings on the impact the store has on the neighborhood. If public nuisance hearings are held, they could affect the store's license to sell liquor.
"Hopefully they become a better operator," he said. "That's the goal."
Yet Maldonado lashed back that he had checked reports filed with the local police district and said there had not been a single complaint lodged against the store over the last six months.
"In my office, I have not received calls over the last four years on that," Maldonado added. "I don't know what Moreno is trying to do, in terms of getting in the business of my ward, but I know one thing. I called the [police] commander, and he said, 'We have no complaints whatsoever in the last six months.' So I don't know where this is coming from."
Moreno has also cited a series of campaign contributions the Armitage Food owner has made to Maldonado, but said Wednesday that's an ancillary issue.
Maldonado said Wednesday that if Moreno continued to push the issue, he was ready to push back.
Jokingly asked by reporters if the dispute could lead to a shoving match, Moreno said, "I hope he touches me. I would love nothing better than for him to try to push me."
It didn't come to that at Wednesday's City Council meeting, but clearly the differences between the two remain unsettled.