WICKER PARK — The evilOlive night club, closed since a bouncer was shot there last month, could eventually reopen — but the local alderman wants answers for why there have been 57 calls to 911 about the club this year alone.
Since the start of 2015, in fact, there have been 351 calls to 911 involving the Wicker Park club’s address, according to records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
Not all were requiring urgent help. Some were accidental hangups or about traffic accidents that happened in front of the location.
But 58 of the calls were either for fights or batteries, records show.
Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who has said he wants the club closed for good, said a city nuisance hearing — known as a “deleterious impact” hearing — will look for answers about what keeps bringing the Chicago Police to 1551 W. Division Street.
“Records indicate evilOlive was the source of 57 calls to 911 in 2018 alone. The deleterious impact proceedings that have been initiated will allow them to explain the source of these complaints, as well as their plan to improve operations in front of an administrative hearing officer,” Hopkins told Block Club Chicago this week.
EvilOlive has been closed since the bouncer was shot at 3:45 a.m. Aug. 29. Hopkins told residents in an email that he wanted to shut down the bar, using a tactic called a “summary closure” through the Chicago Police Department.
“I have spoken with 12th District Police Commander, and requested the City institute Summary Closure on the grounds that EvilOlive poses an immediate public safety threat,” Hopkins wrote in the days after the shooting. “I have a no tolerance policy for businesses that cannot maintain a secure environment for patrons, and pose a safety threat to the public.”
The summary closure ordinance allows for the city to shut down a business immediately if a violent incident occurs there. But instead of closing the bar with that tactic, Hopkins and Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), whose ward borders the bar, are now using the “deleterious impact” public nuisance ordinance.
In that process, club owners must draft a plan of operation and work with the city to correct problems while their business stays open.
Lilia Chacon, a spokeswoman for the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, said the owners of evilOlive voluntarily agreed to remain closed while officials with the Chicago Police and the city’s law departments discuss “possible abatement measures.”
“While they plan to reopen, [the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection] will work with police and other city departments to determine if there are additional violations. BACP has also referred the matter for community hearings on possible deleterious impact of the business as requested by Aldermen Hopkins and Moreno,” Chacon said.
When exactly the club will reopen is not known.
“We are voluntarily closed right now, we are not sure for how long. A decision has not been made,” Marzena Falek, a spokeswoman for the bar’s owner Marcin Kawa, said Tuesday.
Hopkins told Block Club the club voluntarily closed at his “strong urging.”
EvilOlive is owned by Kawa and Radoslaw “Radek” Hawryszczuk, state records show. While Hawryszczuk is an owner on paper, he has not been involved with the bar in the past few years, Falek said.
“[Hawryszczuk] has nothing to do with the business,” Falek said.
Falek said she, Kawa and two evilOlive employees met with police and city officials from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection on Tuesday. She declined to comment further.
The wounded bouncer and his family are also not commenting, requesting privacy, Falek said.
The list of calls was unusual for one location in such a short period of time, a city source said – and it likely did not include all incidents linked to the bar. For example, the night the bouncer was shot, someone at the bar called 911 immediately but hung up without requesting service. Then, someone reported the shooting but listed a vacant next door building at 1555 W Division St. as the incident location.
Christian Ficara, Hopkins’ chief of staff, said of the hundreds of 911 calls to the club, it is important to focus on this year’s.
“Typically, in these types of establishments, there is a high rate of turnover amongst management and staff. Few, if any employees dating back to 2015 are still working there. It’s important to focus on patterns of criminal activity, and the current operators who are responsible for maintaining a safe atmosphere for customers and the public,” Ficara said.
There were 26 arrests at evilOlive since 2015 and only one this year, records shows. The arrests include:
- A 24-year-old woman arrested and charged with battery causing bodily harm on the sidewalk in front of the bar on July 25.
- A 33-year-old man arrested on the sidewalk in front of the bar on September 22, 2017, and charged with possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number.
- Two women, aged 21 and 22, arrested for battery with intent to cause bodily harm on January 14, 2015. That case later resulted in a court case, with two victims suing the women, alleging in a suit that they “suffered disabling and disfiguring injuries and lost time from work” as a result of the attack.
- Hawryszczuk, the bar’s co-owner, was arrested on March 5, 2017, on the sidewalk in front of the evilOlive and charged with battery- making physical contact.