Naperville officials say if Black Finn management was previously unaware of the reputation the establishment has earned as a hot spot for violence, city officials say they can no longer make that claim.
Naperville Police Chief Bob Marshall, attorney Jill Wilger and other city staff members met Monday afternoon with Black Finn operations partner Lenny Skorcz to address several violent fights including a stabbing last year and an increasing number of police calls to the saloon at 16 E. Jefferson Ave. Those concerns have also caused several city council members to call for the establishment's liquor license to be pulled for varying lengths of time.
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Skorcz declined a request to comment after Monday's meeting, but he did send an email to the Daily Herald over the weekend, before Monday's meeting.
"I am shocked to learn about these accusations. Upon learning about them, our representatives have reached out to the city of Naperville to garner additional details and have yet to receive a return call," Skorcz wrote Saturday. "I have been in the restaurant business going on 20 years and pride myself on running a professional operation. I am on premise virtually every night. We go to great lengths to train our staff properly and employ close to 100 dedicated people from the local area, who rely on us as a source of income."
Marshall said he believes Monday's meeting was educational and he expects a resolution of some sort by week's end.
"We met, and I went over several pages of facts and data that led us to identify (Black Finn) as a problem location that has caught our attention," Marshall said Monday. "They can no longer claim to not be aware of the situation there."
Pradel, who also serves as the city's liquor commissioner, decided at the last minute to not attend the meeting he originally called. He said he felt it would inappropriate for him to attend the closed-door meeting in case he finds himself presiding over a hearing involving the bar.
"I just decided it wouldn't be appropriate for me to be in there," Pradel said. "If I find myself presiding over a hearing in this matter, I want the facts to be fresh when they are presented to me."
The liquor commission meets at 3 p.m. Thursday in Pradel's conference room at the city municipal meeting. Black Finn is not on the agenda but is likely to be discussed.