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updated: 5/15/2014 11:36 AM

Elgin council again delays decision on Gasthaus bar

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  • Gasthaus Zur Linde owner Marco Muscarello said he temporarily closed the bar after receiving on May 5 a notice of chronic nuisance activity from the city of Elgin.

       Gasthaus Zur Linde owner Marco Muscarello said he temporarily closed the bar after receiving on May 5 a notice of chronic nuisance activity from the city of Elgin.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Gasthaus Zur Linde in Elgin is temporarily closed. The Elgin liquor control commission once again delayed a decision on possible sanctions against the bar accused of liquor code violations.

       Gasthaus Zur Linde in Elgin is temporarily closed. The Elgin liquor control commission once again delayed a decision on possible sanctions against the bar accused of liquor code violations.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 

The Elgin liquor control commission once again delayed a decision on possible sanctions against a downtown bar accused of liquor code violations after running out of time to finish the proceedings.

The commission on Wednesday heard testimony from the general manager, kitchen manager and bouncer of the Gasthaus Zur Linde at 15 N. Grove Ave.

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The city filed a complaint alleging a minor was served alcohol in May 2013, and that it operated as a nightclub without serving food in March 2013, exceeding the scope of its liquor license.

The minor, Adan Sandoval, was arrested after a stabbing outside the bar following a fight that started inside the bar, police said.

Bouncer Billy Diaz said he never lets people inside the bar without ID showing they are 21 and over. The video appears to show Diaz checking Sandoval's ID.

Gasthaus attorney Charles Muscarello, son of the bar's owner, Marco Muscarello, says Elgin's ordinance runs counter to state law, which allows bars to defend themselves on the grounds that a fake ID was presented.

In the March 2013 incident, a fight broke out and a shot was fired at the Gasthaus while a DJ was playing music, city officials said.

Commissioners viewed video taken that night by the bar's surveillance camera that showed people dancing, then the fight starting and people scattering.

Elgin police officer Randy Fries said he didn't see any food inside the bar when he responded to the call at about 1 a.m., but he also said he didn't check the entire premises.

Gasthaus kitchen manager Don Neuzil and general manager Christy Orozco said food is served at the bar every day, without fail.

The commission started discussing the Gasthaus at last month's meeting but ran out of time. It next meets June 11; the commission's decisions can be appealed to the state liquor commission and beyond.

Owner Marco Muscarello said he temporarily closed the Gasthaus after receiving a notice of chronic nuisance activity May 5 from the city of Elgin.

Marco Muscarello said he risks fines of up to $1,000 per day if he keeps the bar open, but Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said that would only happen if no corrective action is taken.

A meeting between Marco Muscarello and city officials is set for May 30, so no fines would be issued in the meantime, Swoboda said.

The nuisance complaint lists incidents of battery, mob action and theft that have taken place between November and March. The Gasthaus was among several establishments that received such letters, Swoboda said.

Gasthaus attorneys in January filed a lawsuit arguing that the city's allegations have no merit and that the commission -- which comprises all city council members -- has a conflict of interest because the Gasthaus' location conflicts with potential redevelopment plans for the nearby Elgin Tower Building.

Both sides are due back before Kane County Judge David Akemann on May 20.

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