The prayers of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo have been answered: Village officials have revoked the liquor license for the strip club next door to their convent.
Stone Park Mayor Beniamino Mazzulla, who also is the suburb’s liquor commissioner, stripped Club Allure of its license, issuing a 13-page ruling that states the club is in violation of a village ordinance that prohibits the sale of liquor within 100 feet of a church, school or home for the aged.
“We’re hoping they’re closed,” said Thomas Brejcha, an attorney for the Thomas More Society, which is handling the case for the sisters. “Over the weekend, we’ve been checking, and there appears to be nobody there. We think most of their income comes from liquor.”
Robert Itzkow, lawyer and a former investor in Club Allure, promised the club owners would appeal the ruling to the state Liquor Control Commission, and, if necessary, in circuit court. In the meantime, Itzkow said, the club will continue to operate and offer booze along with exotic dance.
“No thoughtful [judge] will uphold this decision,” Itzkow said. “The mayor made a political decision, because he just had another club open in town, and he has an election in April. That’s all this is.”
Mazzulla declined to comment Thursday, citing the lawsuit filed by the nuns against the village and night club.
“We’re prepared for the duration,” Brejcha said.
Mazzulla’s ruling states that the club is within 100 feet of a chapel on the sister’s compound, which sits just north and west of Club Allure.
Itzkow said the chapels don’t meet the legal definition for a “church,” and that the measurement of the 100-foot distance between the chapel and the club was miscalculated.
A Cook County judge earlier this year dismissed most of the claims in a lawsuit filed by the nuns in 2013, finding that the sisters hadn’t provided enough detail on allegations that the club was loud or that patrons were prone to fighting.
Brejcha said the nuns have since sent investigators into the club to gather evidence, and have said the lap dances inside the club qualify as prostitution — “that is, the solicitation of physical contact for purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.” That case returns to court in December with a new “X-rated” account of what goes on inside the club, Brejcha said.
Itzkow said the tiny village of less than 5,000 residents is attractive to strip club owners because of its location near busy Mannheim Road, and because high taxes in Stone Park make it so that few other businesses can survive. The village occupies an area less than half-a-mile square, between Melrose Park and Elmhurst, Itzkow noted.
“That makes it awfully hard to be 100 feet from the nuns, who have a couple of acres in there,” Itzkow said.