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Bar 118's Liquor License Revoked By City Regulators

By Howard Ludwig | August 30, 2016 1:02pm
 The liquor license for Bar 118 in Morgan Park was revoked Monday. The order was signed by city liquor control commissioner Gregory Steadman.
The liquor license for Bar 118 in Morgan Park was revoked Monday. The order was signed by city liquor control commissioner Gregory Steadman.
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

MORGAN PARK — Bar 118's liquor license has been revoked by city regulators.

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection on Monday revoked the license for the tavern at 11848 S. Western Ave. in Morgan Park. The order was signed by the city's liquor control commissioner, Gregory Steadman.

The ruling prevents the sale of alcohol at that location for one year, according to a staff member from Ald. Matt O'Shea's office.

Going forward, the 19th Ward alderman plans to create a moratorium on liquor licenses in a two block area around the troubled Bar 118. Such a moratorium could be only be lifted by a City Council action, the staffer said.

"This is a great example of what can be accomplished when residents work cooperatively with law enforcement," O'Shea said in an email to constituents Tuesday afternoon.

Bar 118 has been closed since Aug. 5 after a raid by the Chicago Police Department's Narcotics Unit. Police found a gun on a bar security guard, who is a convicted felon. Three other people were also arrested and charged with drug possession.

The raid followed an undercover police investigation that began April 19. The officer involved in the case testified as part of a hearing to determine the future of Bar 118's liquor license Aug. 23 in City Hall.

Nobody from Bar 118 attended the hearing.

The officer spoke in great detail about buying large amounts of marijuana as well as cocaine and ecstasy pills at the bar — mostly from two security guards named Naikia "Bumpy" Johnson, 41, of suburban Blue Island and Marvin Williams, also known as "Bam," 24, of Oakland.

In total, the officer testified to making seven drug buys over the course of 3½ months. Both Johnson and Williams were arrested in the raid along with bartender Tyesha Bozetta Oliver, 36, of suburban Calumet Park, and Alvin Phillips, 32, of Bronzeville.

Many of the drug deals occurred in the back office of the bar. The biggest drug buy happened there June 10 and included 79.6 grams of marijuana, along with cocaine for $1,650, the officer said.

The details of the police raid that lead to the closure of Bar 118 were not included in the testimony for the hearing. Bar 118 opened in April 2015 and complaints about the tavern first surfaced at a town hall meeting Sept. 23.

Then, homeowners living nearby the tavern said there had been an uptick in crime since the bar arrived on the scene. Angela Cross, who lives a block west of Western Avenue on 118th Street, later said loitering was commonplace, as bar patrons would frequently spill out of the tavern and drink near their parked cars.

"I'd also like to thank the neighbors who came forward to share information with the police," O'Shea said in his email.

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