Irregularities in Issuance of Tapa La Luna Liquor License

Response 12-018 FOIA Lynn Fazekas (Tapalaluna)

This liquor license was issued February 2. According to e-mails obtained under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the application for this liquor license was submitted the same day.

So when I read something like this…

DeKalb Mayor Kris Povlsen asked if there was a laundry list of public corruption because in his long career in public service there has not been a single incident of public corruption or misdoings in the City of DeKalb. He suggested the problem is more about a group of citizens looking to become the next Woodward or Bernstein.

“What grabs the headlines are the people who want to besmirch the public officials,” Povlsen said.

…I’m gonna say, “Yeah, I have yer laundry list right here, starting with last month’s failure to follow the DeKalb liquor code.”

…Oh, and you can call me Carl.

Here is what is supposed to happen:

  • Application for a liquor license is submitted to the City of DeKalb
  • Application is forwarded to the Chief of Police, who prepares an investigative report
  • Investigative report is filed with the Liquor Commissioner
  • Liquor Commission reviews the application and report, and makes a recommendation
  • City Council approves a development agreement (for a Central Business District license, which is the case here) before a license can be granted
  • Liquor Commissioner makes the final decision and directs the City Clerk to issue the license if granted

It seems unlikely that a background check and investigative report were completed, but since the city posed its response as a partial denial of the FOIA request and cited an exemption for police records, I have to request a review of the denial by the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor to find out.

Meanwhile, here’s what we know:

  • January 24: New Tapa La Luna owner inquires into the requirements for a license
  • January 27: New owner meets with city attorney
  • January 31: Mayor informs others of intent to grant a “provisional” license (which does not exist under the code)
  • February 2: New owner turns in application dated January 30, though it’s lacking the required certificate of dram shop insurance and a sales tax certificate; new owner gets license anyway.

If you click on the image of the liquor license (which, incidentally, doesn’t look to have anything provisional about it) it will take you to an album containing documentation supporting everything I’ve said — plus bonus e-mail reaction from the old Tapa La Luna owner.

Public corruption is first and foremost a breach of trust. In this blatant display of favoritism, City of DeKalb officials have proven they cannot be trusted even to follow the rules they have set for themselves. It’s as simple as that. The besmirching is self-inflicted.

Related posts:

Applying for a Liquor License in DeKalb

New Tapa La Luna Owners Were Issued a “Conditional” Liquor License