Skip to comments.Jackson called for more police (Jesse went to bat for owner of nightclub)
Posted on 02/19/2003 3:14:47 PM PST by churchillbuff
Jackson called for more police February 19, 2003
BY FRAN SPIELMAN CITY HALL REPORTER As the E2 nightclub was staying open in apparent defiance of a judge's order, its clout-heavy owners were flexing their political muscle to get more police protection.
The pressure was applied by Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and its founder, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The elder Jackson has known club owner Dwain Kyles since childhood and is a close friend of Kyles' father, the Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles.
At a City Hall news conference Tuesday, Police Supt. Terry Hillard said Jackson intervened on Kyles' behalf when security at E2 became an ongoing problem last year.
Hillard said he received a phone call from Jackson and a letter.
According to Hillard, Jackson argued that "this was a legitimate black business and would I see what I could do to work with him. ... They asked for police to be out there during the hours of 12 o'clock [midnight until] 4 a.m., and I said we could not station a police car in front of this location."
Instead, Hillard said he agreed to pay "special attention" to the club because of the "inordinate amount of calls" generated by E2's "high-capacity crowd" of young people.
"That's what we did--not only with beat officers, but with tact teams," Hillard said.
During the phone calls and letters, Hillard said Jackson made no mention of licensing issues. Nor did he urge the city not to shut down the building.
Charles Bowen, Mayor Daley's liaison with black ministers, said he placed a similar call to Hillard last summer in response to a security request from Mark Allen of PUSH.
Bowen said he was asked to intervene after Ald. Madeline Haithcock (2nd), whose ward includes E2, wrote an angry letter to Kyles essentially washing her hands of the establishment. Haithcock did not return phone calls.
"An elected official normally never says, 'I'm not going to ever talk to you again about anything. I couldn't imagine why--whether there was something they had done to offend her," Bowen said. "Mark Allen asked me to talk to Kyles, and I did."
Jackson acknowledged he went to bat for Kyles on the security issue but he, too, denied intervening on the more critical issues of licensing and code enforcement.
"When you have a crowd, you need the presence of police as a deterrent, just as you would at the United Center. We simply asked that it be provided. After all, you're talking about 10 blocks from the mayor's house and lots of people there between 10 and 4," Jackson said.
"I've known Dwain since he was a child. On Dr. King's very last day of his life, we were on the way to Rev. Kyles' home for dinner. I also know Superintendent Hillard. He's also a friend. He used to head my security detail."
Jackson accused the Daley administration of trying to shift the spotlight to him in retaliation for his call for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to conduct an independent investigation of the E2 fiasco.
"A great tragedy has occurred and now people are running for cover," Jackson said.
Mayoral challenger Paul Jakes demanded that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald investigate, comparing the "city neglect" to the 1995 heat wave that killed 800.
"Who made the phone calls that kept this business open?" Jakes said. "Every day across this city, mom-and-pop businesses have to dot every 'i' and cross every 't' to keep their doors open. . . . If, in fact, the business was in violation of serious building codes, why was it allowed to remain open and continue to sell liquor?"
City officials have denied clout had anything to do with the club staying open despite a court order last July that it shut down because of building code violations.
But Kyles has given his share of political donations and has allowed his club to be used for political fund-raisers and civic events. His partner, Calvin Hollins, is a former sheriff's deputy and precinct captain in the Southwest Side's 22nd Ward who won a pardon in 1991 after being convicted for killing a man outside a nightclub.
Kyles has contributed $3,650 to a handful of Democrats since 1994, campaign disclosure reports show. His most recent donations were to Rod Blagojevich during his successful gubernatorial campaign. Kyles gave Blagojevich $500 about three weeks before the March primary, and another $1,000 about six weeks before the November general election.
A Blagojevich spokeswoman said none of the governor's aides are "aware of any personal contact between the governor and Mr. Kyles."
"I think he is among a large number of people who gave to the governor at that level," said Abby Ottenhoff, Blagojevich's Chicago press secretary.
Contributing: Scott Fornek
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No it's Bush's fault, 'cause we don't have midnight basketball.
WLS' Roe and Garry getting lots of calls from blacks and whites alike, wondering about the wiseness of so many young mothers (over 30 kids lost their moms, including a 3 week old) going to a club until 2-3 in the morning, that has a history of trouble.
The Reverend Samuel "Billy" Kyles, an eyewitness to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr....
Rev. Kyles is the only person still living to spend the last hours with Dr. King. Having participated in many of the civil rights struggles throughout the South, Rev. Kyles is recognized as a resource of information on the Civil Rights Movement.
My definition of a tragedy.
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