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Community Meeting Held to Address Concerns About Bronzeville Business

12/20/2017, noon | Updated on 12/20/2017, noon
“The level of respect and the bar that you set for your community has to show that you respect the ...
Ald. Sophia King and Vera Elue, Senior Attorney for the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), held a community meeting on Dec. 6 to address complaints made against Jimmy’s Food and Deli in Bronzeville. Photo Credit: Katherine Newman

Community Meeting Held to Address Concerns About Bronzeville Business

By: Katherine Newman

A community hearing was held at City Hall on Dec. 6 to address alleged complaints, made by community members in Bronzeville, against Jimmy’s Food and Deli located at the corner of 35th St. and S. Prairie Ave.

The meeting was facilitated by Vera Elue, Senior Attorney for the Department of Business Affairs andConsumer Protection (BACP).

There are several steps that are taken to get a business back on track when they are found to be in noncompliance with the law. The city will investigate and issue a fine, hold a

mediation conference, or finally they will arrange to have a community hearing.

“When the business is so bad and has gotten out of hand, we will call a community hearing and that is a hearing where the alderman will be there, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) will be there, the community will be there and we are looking at the business and the problems they have created,” said Elue.

This was the first community meeting for Jimmy’s Food and Deli. Alderman Sophia King attended on behalf of the fourth ward that she represents.

“The level of respect and the bar that you set for your community has to show that you respect the community and that you understand you are part of the community and being part of the community,” said King.

“You need to accept responsibility for the type of business you run and for the type of people that you attract.” Officer Holley, a CPD officer assigned to the 211 beat where Jimmy’s is located, attended the meeting to provide information about the types of service calls he has responded to, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 5, in regards to the business.

“We received approximately 270 calls of services ranging from quality of life issues, drug selling, selling of loose cigarettes, loitering, solicitation, basically hanging out at Jimmy’s food market,” said Holley.

Before the meeting concluded, the business was given an opportunity to speak. Michelle Trusedale, the attorney representing Jimmy’s Food and Deli spoke on behalf of the business. Also in attendance were the owner of the business, the store manager, and the

building owner.

“My client has been keeping a list of those calls for service,” said Trusedale. “On a daily basis if not more than once a day, my client has called 911 for hanging out, for fighting, for loitering, for stealing.”

On June 27, the business had a meeting with Crystal King-Smith, CPD Commander of the 2nd District, to discuss a plan of action to get the business back into good standing with the community and law enforcement, according to Truesdale.

“We sat in her office at the district and made a list with eight points of what needs to be done to fix the issues that were brought to our attention of loitering, and people hanging out, and crime in the area,” said Trusedale.

The business has been able to accomplish most everything on the list with the exception of hiring licensed and bonded security and obtaining a permit to add cameras to the exterior of the building, according to Truesdale.

Moving forward, Elue provided the business with a new list of reasonable steps to better their business. Elue asked the business to change their hours to be open from 10 a.m.-5p.m., hire licensed and bonded security, obtain the permit to hang exterior cameras and link them to CPD, keep a 911 call, 311 call, and cleaning log book, provide better lighting outside of the business, and provide an inventory list to BACP.

“Fines that we issue are good, but there is something that’s better than fines and that is

compliance,” said Elue. “Every business is important but none is more important than the community,” A business may have up to three community meetings. If the issues are not resolved after the thirdmeeting, it will be closed unsuccessfully.

“Once we close the meeting as unsuccessful the next step will be to go to the court room next door, where werecommend to the law department that we go after the

businesses license to get the license away from the bad business,” said Elue.

The next community meeting for Jimmy’s Food and Deli is scheduled for Jan. 9.