A judge has dismissed a $16 million federal lawsuit filed by the operator of an Elgin-area strip club against the Kane County Board after it rejected an application for a liquor license.
U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Kendall has ruled that the board acted legally when it denied a liquor license to CDH Food & Beverage Inc, which had leased Blackjacks Gentleman's Club in an unincorporated area between Elgin and St. Charles.
CDH had filed suit, arguing the county's liquor code was unconstitutional, and also sought $16 million in damages, along with attorney fees.
CDH attorneys argued the corporation leased the location in April 2015 with plans to convert it into another site for Thee Dollhouse Chicago, an upscale strip club with locations in the city. But the county board rejected the application, based on irrational hostility to the group, fears it would compete against other clubs, and a bias because the previous owner had been convicted of a crime, the suit alleged.
"None of the reasons given in opposition to plaintiff's application constituted legitimate governmental interests," read part of the lawsuit. "The denial of a liquor license to plaintiffs was based, in part, on the belief of defendants that they had complete discretion in deciding whether to grant or deny plaintiff's request for a liquor license, and was arbitrary, capricious and irrational."
CDH's application required the county board to change the liquor ordinance because the board had already granted the allotted number of liquor licenses in St. Charles Township. The county board voted 16-7 against the additional license. The strip club has since operated on a BYOB basis.
Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon praised his staff members and said the judge made the right call.
"State law allows the county board to create and enforce the liquor ordinance that is in place in Kane County. The law also allows for discretionary amendments to that ordinance. The Kane County Board members believe that allowing the sale of alcohol at that location was unwise and not in the best interests of the county and its residents, and they voted as such," McMahon said. "Judge Kendall was in agreement that CDH did not prove that its rights were violated."
A message left for CDH attorney Wayne Giampietro was not immediately returned.