The sale of the legally troubled Blackjack’s Gentleman’s Club has encountered an obstacle after the County Board narrowly denied its prospective new owners a liquor license.
Tuesday, the County Board voted 11-10 to deny a request from DD & SS Inc., of Chicago, for a liquor license for the strip club on Route 25 in St. Charles Township near South Elgin.
DD & SS Inc. is a corporate entity managed by Deborah Diaz and Seif El Sharif, owners of other strip clubs.
Diaz said she and El Sharif, through DD & SS Inc., had reached a purchase agreement with the current owners of Blackjack’s – father and son team Dominic Buttitta of South Barrington and Anthony Buttitta of St. Charles – to transfer ownership of the strip club.
But the sale, Diaz said, is contingent on obtaining a liquor license from the county.
Blackjack’s lost its liquor license last year when the Buttittas pleaded guilty to federal charges of tax fraud and operating an illegal gambling business. They have been sentenced to prison.
But Diaz said the Buttittas have continued to operate the business, resulting in the completion of a purchase agreement with her company in May 2012.
Diaz told County Board members Tuesday that a liquor license granted to Blackjack’s would generate a large amount of economic activity and tax revenue for the county.
She estimated the establishment could generate more than 200 new jobs, primarily in the form of more “self-employed entertainers,” and large amounts of taxes and fees.
“The county, the state and the federal governments will lose a lot of money without a liquor license here,” Diaz said.
County Board members, however, disputed whether the county should desire to allow Blackjack’s to continue.
County Board member John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles, noted the location had hosted a restaurant in the past.
While the county’s hands were tied in the past when renewing Blackjack’s liquor license, because the club was an existing business with a license, Hoscheit said the county could be free now to evaluate the business based on its intended use of the site.
He said financial reports provided by Diaz indicate the business has suffered since the loss of the liquor license.
“Operations are not doing well,” Hoscheit said. “It’s unlikely to continue to be operated without alcohol.”
Others on the board, however, worried the owners could opt, without the restrictions of liquor laws, to open the strip club to people under the age of 21, or that the County Board was not using the proper legal standards in evaluating the new owners’ liquor license request.