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Article updated: 6/6/2013 4:57 PM

Tilted Kilt in Elgin closes after franchise lawsuit

By Elena Ferrarin

With the local owners and corporate headquarters embroiled in lawsuits, the Tilted Kilt in Elgin abruptly closed its doors.

The Celtic-themed pub and eatery whose waitresses donned skimpy outfits at 2300 Bushwood Drive was dark and empty on Tuesday; its front doors covered in white paper.

A message posed Monday on the Tilted Kilt of Elgin's Facebook page announced the closing. The message was signed "Chris."

Tilted Kilt Franchise Operating LLC, based in Arizona, filed a federal lawsuit May 17 alleging breach of contract and trademark infringement against Elgin franchise president and owner Chris Giotakis and Urmish Patel. Patel was identified as principal of LA Elgin Bar LLC, which acquired ownership interest in November 2011.

A message left for Giotakis was not returned Tuesday.

Michael Lynch, Tilted Kilt franchise corporate counsel, said the company sent Giotakis inspection reports and letters stating he was not in compliance with the franchise agreement. The issues were related to attire, food and failure to pay dues and royalties, Lynch said.

"If they're not going to operate in compliance and provide great service, we do not want them in the system," Lynch said.

LA Elgin Bar filed a lawsuit in Cook County a few months ago, arguing that Giotakis had inflated the business' value before selling a share to LA Elgin Bar, Patel said.

Patel, of Lincolnwood, denied he's the principal of LA Elgin Bar, saying instead that he has a minority stake in the entity. "I am working with my attorneys to have my name removed (from the federal lawsuit)," Patel said.

Patel said he's never been to the Elgin location and doesn't know why business was bad.

Attorney Donald Rosen of Carpentersville said his client Thomas Karabatsos filed a lawsuit in November 2012 in Kane County, arguing Karabatsos' family still owns 50 percent of the business. Karabatsos sold the Elgin building for $3.4 million to Giotakis, who opened the Tilted Kilt in March 2010.

"Giotakis defaulted on all of his promises to my client. He bullied him out of the business," Rosen said.

In October 2011, Tilted Kilt in Elgin was fined $1,600 by the Elgin Liquor Control Commission after the city leveled a complaint citing 16 incidents, including six fights among patrons. As part of the settlement, the restaurant agreed to stop staging mixed martial arts, boxing and other fighting contests.

The federal lawsuit's parties are due in court Thursday morning in downtown Chicago.

Ÿ Daily Herald staff writer Harry Hitzeman contributed to this report.

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