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updated: 4/8/2014 7:52 PM

Elgin bar sues city

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The Gasthaus Zur Linde, a bar in Elgin, filed a lawsuit against the city alleging, among other things, a conflict of interest regarding pending redevelopment plans for the Elgin Tower Building.

The lawsuit was filed Jan. 31 and amended Monday, seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the city's liquor control commission from hearing a complaint Wednesday against the Gasthaus.

The two parties are due in court at 11 a.m.; the commission meets at 4:30 p.m.

Elgin Corporation Counsel William Cogley said he couldn't comment on the pending lawsuit nor the liquor commission complaint.

Gasthaus attorney Charles Muscarello did not return a request for comment.

The city's complaint -- dated August 2013 -- states that the Gasthaus operated beyond the scope of its liquor license by having a live band March 2013, and that it served alcohol to an underage patron in May 2013.

According to the lawsuit, the Gasthaus complied with the city's requests related to the March 2013 incident, including terminating the DJ and bouncer working that day, imposing a dress code, discontinuing booking birthday parties with unknown customers, and avoiding hip-hop and rap music to "avoid the wrong crowd."

The city renewed the Gasthaus' liquor license in May 2013, the lawsuit states.

Three months later, the city's liquor commission filed its complaint.

The Gasthaus filed a response in October 2013, saying the underage patron presented a false ID, which is a defense under the state liquor control act, the lawsuit states.

Also, the city failed to prosecute the patron, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also states there is a conflict of interest between the liquor commission -- composed of all city council members -- and the city council regarding the Tower Building.

Gasthaus is at 15 N. Grove Ave., and the Tower Building is at 100 E. Chicago St.

A Wisconsin-based developer is interested in buying the building to turn it into apartments. That plan would have to be approved by the city council.

The Gasthaus' outdoor beer garden is "inconsistent with residential facilities" in terms of concerns such as noise, the lawsuit states. Also, the bar's parking lot is located where more parking would be needed for the Tower Building, the lawsuit states.

The Gasthaus requested the preliminary injunction be granted until the court has ruled on the matter. The lawsuit was initially assigned a May 20 court date.

Mayor David Kaptain, who chairs the liquor commission, was out of town Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.

Councilman John Prigge said that at the beginning of the year, he asked city staff members why the August 2013 complaint against the Gasthaus had not been heard by the liquor commission yet.

The response was that the paperwork was still being put together, he said.

City Clerk Kim Dewis said the Gasthaus has had no prior complaints before the liquor commission. The bar opened in 1968.

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