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Firm that ran Orland Park club got COVID payroll loan, but workers’ checks bounced

Convicted scammer Lee Anglin was arrested last week at the Riviera Country Club, which reopened in June under new ownership with his wife as president after closing under another owner.

Lee Anglin.
Lee Anglin.
Sun-Times file

A company that operated Riviera Country Club in Orland Park got a $110,737 loan under the federal Paycheck Protection Program, but the fitness club, which is connected to a convicted scammer, bounced checks to its employees this summer, according to records and interviews.

The employees, including one college student working as a lifeguard and another as a custodian, say their checks were returned by their banks for having insufficient funds.

A GoFundMe page set up for one of the students, Alex Hickman, has raised at least $3,500 for his college expenses since a Chicago Sun-Times story about the bounced checks was published online Friday.

Some of the bounced checks were written on the account of Z-One Hospitality Inc., whose president is listed as Jenni Anglin, according to the Illinois secretary of state’s office. She couldn’t be reached for comment.

Jenni Anglin’s husband Lee Anglin, who was a fugitive, was arrested at the club Wednesday by deputy U.S. marshals and Orland Park police officers.

Anglin served about a dozen years in prison after being convicted in a $10 million real estate scam. A federal judge decided Anglin violated his parole by not disclosing new business ventures in Utah to his parole agent.

Anglin also got in trouble for not telling the judge he was providing paid legal advice to inmates without a law license.

The judge ordered Anglin, 50, to report to prison June 29 to serve six months, but he didn’t show up.

Employees say Anglin and his wife were living at Riviera Country Club in a banquet hall that was being renovated. Anglin is now being held in the federal jail in downtown Chicago.

Workers say Jenni and Lee Anglin were helping direct operations at the club, which previously closed during the coronavirus pandemic under different ownership. The Anglins reopened the club in mid-June, workers say. The facility includes swimming pools, tennis courts and a gym.

According to a ProPublica website that lists Paycheck Protection Program loans to bail out businesses during the pandemic, the company that previously ran Riviera Country Club got two loans, one for $171,080 in May 2020 and another for the same amount on Feb. 12, 2021.

Z-One Hospitality Inc. got a $110,737 loan on Feb. 8, 2021, according to ProPublica, a nonprofit news outlet. It’s unclear what that loan was for. The status of all three loans is listed as “not disclosed.”

A spokeswoman for the Small Business Administration didn’t respond to messages regarding the loans. Companies and nonprofit organizations that obtain PPP loans can get them forgiven if they don’t lay off employees during the period covered by the loan.

Hickman, 18, was a custodian at Riviera Country Club this summer, trying to raise money to cover his expenses at the University of Alabama, where he plans to study chemical engineering. But Hickman’s paychecks kept bouncing. Other employees of the club say theirs did, too.

Alex Hickman.
Alex Hickman.
Provided

Hickman suspected something was fishy. Then, he learned about Lee Anglin’s criminal past.

On July 21, after more than six weeks working for Anglin and his wife, Hickman filed a report with the Orland Park police department about his missing pay.

Orland Park police officials say they’re investigating Hickman’s complaint against the Anglins, and village officials are reviewing “all potential code, business and/or liquor license violations.”

Alex Hickman worked this summer as a janitor at Riviera Country Club in Orland Park, but when he got this check, it bounced.
Alex Hickman worked this summer as a janitor at Riviera Country Club in Orland Park, but when he got this check, it bounced.
Provided

Hickman’s mother Mary Anne Beckwith says she’s worried her son won’t get paid for his work between mid-June and July 21. Several paychecks bounced, she said.

“It’s unreal this could happen, given his history,” Beckwith said of Lee Anglin.

Beckwith, a single mother, said she was counting on her son making a few thousand dollars this summer to help pay for school.

“We need him to get the money for school,” she said.

Martin Danaher, 20, of Oak Lawn, said Riviera owes him more than $820 for lifeguarding between June 22 and Wednesday.

“That’s not just a little money,” said Danaher, who’s a junior at the University of Illinois in Champaign, studying financial planning. “Everyone’s waiting for their check.”