Good news today from the Thomas More Society in Chicago! The nonprofit public interest law firm has been helping the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo in their fight against Club Allure, a strip club which opened next door to their Chicago convent.
The case was first filed in June 2014, alleging that the State of Illinois’ 1,000 foot buffer zoning law, which forbids strip clubs from being placed within 1,000 feet of a place of worship or school, applies to Club Allure. However, in violation of this law, the Village of Stone Park allowed the $3 million Club Allure strip club to open in September 2013, immediately adjacent to the Sister’s convent – a convent which houses three chapels, as well as a home for retired sisters, and a novice house for young women.
In January 2015, the lawsuit was amended–adding charges of prostitution to its claims about the 1,000 foot state law buffer and charges of secondary effects that render the club a legal nuisance.
And today, the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo won a major victory, as the liquor license of Club Allure was revoked. The Thomas More Society has issued the following statement:
(November 17, 2016 – Stone Park, IL) The Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo, along with local residents, won a major victory with the revocation of the liquor license previously granted to a strip club built next to the Missionary Sisters’ convent. Last week, the Stone Park Liquor Commission revoked the liquor license previously issued to the Club Allure strip club based on a finding that it violated an ordinance forbidding a liquor license within 100 feet of a church. The Village of Stone Park Code of Ordinances (“Village Code”) states that “No license shall be issued for the sale of any alcoholic liquor within 100 feet of any church or school.”
The Stone Park Liquor Control Commissioner (who is also Stone Park’s Mayor) revoked the liquor license of Club Allure based on the complaint filed by Thomas More Society. Since the term “church” is not defined in the Village Code or in the Illinois Liquor Control Act, the Stone Park Liquor Control Commissioner relied upon the facts presented in a similar case in which the courts held that a convent chapel, like the three chapels located on the property of the Missionary Sisters, was a “church” based on evidence that it was open to the public for Mass, benediction, prayers and devotions and contained all the necessities for the ordinary functions of a Catholic church.
“We are hopeful that the revocation of Club Allure’s liquor license is a significant step in shutting down Club Allure permanently,” said Thomas More Society special counsel Joan Mannix.
Read the Village of Stone Park Liquor Commission Opinion and Order here.
Read additional background information here.