CHICAGO — The alderman who represents nearly all of River North is putting the Commissioner of Business Affairs and his “bureaucrats” on blast after a shootout left eight people injured near Blüm nightclub early Sunday.
“How many more people need to get shot before the city steps up to the plate and starts shutting down these bad operators?” asked Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd).
According to Chicago police and witnesses who spoke with CWBChicago, at least two gunmen began shooting as a large group fought in the 300 block of West Erie around 2:37 a.m. One of the victims ran inside Blüm, 316 West Erie, after being shot, according to an officer at the scene.
“I have asked CPD to issue a summary closure order to ensure this nightclub does not reopen before the building is sold and they are evicted next month,” Reilly said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “It is my understanding CPD is issuing a summary closure order today.”
The summary closure ordinance is supposed to keep businesses deemed a “public safety threat” closed until the business owner takes “reasonable steps” to protect its employees, patrons, and members of the public from future harm, according to the city. Business owners have rights to a probable cause hearing and a hearing to resume operations under the ordinance.
“The Commissioner of Business Affairs and his bureaucrats need to do their jobs, stop catering to these bad actors and start revoking liquor licenses,” the alderman fumed. “It should not require a mass shooting to result in the closure of a problem nightclub. River North residents and I have been sounding the alarm to the city about Blum for years – yet the city has done nothing to discipline the club.”
He said his office worked to “facilitate” the sale of the building where Blüm operates, hoping the new owner would evict the nightclub. The property is under contract to be sold in November, he said.
“I have been petitioning the Department of Business Affairs & Liquor Commissioner to shut down Clutch/Blum for years now, without success,” Reilly said. “This bad establishment has been the source of chronic neighborhood complaints and has been linked to prior shooting incidents. Inexplicably, the city has allowed this nightclub to continue to operate, despite my prediction that it was just a matter of time before another shooting incident would occur.”
“These late hour nightclubs are a blight on River North, with many catering to gangbangers, drug dealers and gun-toting patrons. Many of the gun crimes being committed downtown overnight are related to fights originating at these late hour clubs, yet these operators are allowed to remain open,” Reilly continued.
“How many more people need to get shot before the city steps up to the plate and starts shutting down these bad operators? Downtown residents should not be forced to suffer because city bureaucrats refuse to do their jobs.”