Saturday, December 8, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: An aerial view of 2850 Indian Joe Drive, the site where developers have been trying to build a strip club for more than a decade. | Google Earth
A decades-long court battle between Broadview and a group of investors looking to build a strip club in the village is slowly winding to a final resolution.
In October, attorneys for the investors, known collectively as Chicago Joe’s Tea Room LLC, filed a motion in federal court asking a judge to amend a lawsuit they had filed in 2007 to strike down a state law the investors argue violates their First Amendment rights.
On Dec. 4, U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee denied the investors’ motion to amend, likely closing the door on Chicago Joe’s decade-long attempt to build the strip club at 2850 Indian Joe Drive in Broadview despite objections of most community members.
In an interview on Dec. 6, attorney Mark Antonio Scarlato, of Fornaro Law, the firm representing Broadview, said that Chicago Joe’s may file another motion for reconsideration, but that “it will be an uphill battle for them.”
Scarlato said that Judge Lee “was pretty adamant that he would not allow them to amend.” The Dec. 4 decision likely concludes one part of a lawsuit that has three components, Scarlato said.
“The lawsuit basically had three issues,” he said. “They wanted to a declaration by the court that the village’s ordinances were unconstitutional, they wanted an injunction barring the village from preventing them from locating in Broadview and they wanted certain damages. The first two have been dealt with.”
Chicago Joe’s is seeking compensation for attorney fees and around $20 million in damages, according to media reports.
The investors and the village have been locked in a court battle for more than a decade.
In 2007, the investors applied for a special use permit required to operate Chicago Joe’s as a strip club that would sell alcohol in the former industrial building. After the request was met by a public outcry from residents and community leaders, Broadview officials refused to grant the permit.
The same year, Chicago Joe’s and Pervis Conway, the owner of the property that the investors sought to develop, filed the lawsuit in federal court.
Initially, a lower court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but the village appealed the decision and established more restrictive zoning laws related to adult businesses.
In March 2016, “based on strengthened village ordinances, a new state statute and the efforts of Fornaro Law,” the court ruled in favor of the village, prohibiting Chicago Joes from operating a strip club where it wanted in the village, representatives with Fornaro Law explained in a statement at the time.
The state law, which was enacted a few months after Broadview denied Chicago Joe’s a special use permit, “prohibits the construction of any adult-entertainment facility within one mile of certain public accommodations, such as schools, parks, cemeteries, and places of religious worship,” according to Lee’s most recent ruling.
“The property in question is within one mile of a cemetery, two schools, three parks, and a church,” Lee explained.
Last week, Scarlato said that the village will continue to fight the case until its resolved. Representatives with Chicago Joe’s could not be immediately contacted on Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve been diligently pursuing this and we’ll continue to pursue it until the case is resolved in the village’s favor,” Scarlato said. “As of right now, the village is winning.”
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