Dolton Mayor Riley Rogers said permanently closing a local nightclub where five people were shot early Sunday, without due process, would leave the village open to yet another lawsuit and resisted calls to shut the club down.
Rogers held a press conference on Monday afternoon, a day after he said he was excluded from a press conference held by a majority of the village’s trustees.
Trustee Duane Muhammad led the press conference Sunday and called for the immediate suspension of the club’s liquor license.
Rogers said the club was immediately closed for seven days after the shooting, but the village must allow the club to reopen this coming Sunday. If the village wants to pursue the revocation of the liquor license, notice must be given to the owners and a hearing must be held.
“It’s troubling to me that the trustees, particularly Muhammad, would make make a tragedy like this a political issue,” Rogers said.
Four men were shot about 3 a.m. Sunday inside Club One, 14112 Chicago Road. A fifth man was shot outside the club, and police said he was the shooter. No weapons have been recovered.
Three of the people shot who were shot were in critical condition and two were in serious condition on Monday, Police Chief Robert Collins Jr. said. He declined to release more information because it’s an active investigation, and he said all the information would be released at its conclusion.
“We’re very confident we have all the puzzle pieces and we are about to put them together,” said Collins, who added that he thinks charges were “imminent.”
At a village board meeting Monday night, Muhammad called on the mayor to make available to the public Club One’s liquor license, a list of their owners and proof that the company has insurance.
Rogers did not say if he would do that, and said he couldn’t answer questions about the names on the liquor license because the license office had already closed for the day.
At his press conference before the meeting, which was held at Dolton’s Democratic Party Headquarters, Rogers said Club One’s liquor license is held by Mucho Gusto LLC, which also owns the building.
Rogers said the club has been under new management since January and its liquor license was renewed in March and was in good standing. Because of that, he said the village would have to follow the rules if it wanted to close the club, and if they wanted to avoid a potential lawsuit from the owners.
“We have to go through due process to minimize litigation,” Rogers said. “The history of this village has been to sue Dolton. Even if we win, we still lose, because we have to pay attorneys.”
Trustee Tiffany Henyard asked community members in attendance at the meeting how many were there because of the shooting. When a majority of hands went up in the room, Henyard said the residents wanted action, and she wants a discussion of what the village’s options are on the next meeting agenda.
Muhammad said he thinks the first step forward is for the mayor to tell the public who owns and manages the club, and to make sure that they are in good standing and legally able to operate. From there, he said if residents wanted it closed, he would push to begin the process on their behalf.