Nuns continue fight against nearby strip club - | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Nuns continue fight against nearby strip club under new ownership

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The battle over a west suburban strip club slated to open next to a convent is heating up again.

The giant adult-themed complex in Stone Park has sat empty for the past year since FOX 32 and the Better Government Association first broke the story a year ago. Now, it appears the two sides are headed for a showdown.

Residents of Stone Park and Melrose Park joined about a dozen sisters from the St. Charles Borromeo Convent in front of a giant metallic building on Lake Street.

"This is an eyesore next to our convent and our neighborhood," says Sister Noemia Silva. "It goes against every fiber of our being and tears at the fabric of our whole community."

A year ago, those same nuns expressed outrage when FOX 32 and the Better Government Association broke the news about that giant club, called "Get It," going up on property right next to their convent.

"They tell us it's a restaurant but officially we receive the news it's a gentlemen's cabaret," Silva explains.

Weeks later, hundreds of people marched through Stone Park protesting the club, which Stone Park leaders claimed to have opposed until they were threatened with a lawsuit.

"It would have been a drawn out battle," says Mayor Ben Mazzulla. "It would have cost the village over a half million in tax dollars."

But now, a year later, it appears the club is back on track. Owner Bob Itzkow tells FOX 32 News that a lawsuit between partners has been settled and he hopes to open what he calls a high-tech cabaret-themed adult club by late summer.

"Yes, [the nuns] have certainly had a chilling effect on our activities," says Itzkow. "But it's our intention to open the venue some time in the future. Stone Park needs us, the 100 jobs we're going to create and it needs our tax revenue."

On Monday, the nuns drew the words "David and Goliath" on a stone and threw it into the creek next to the club; a symbol they say of how they can beat a more powerful opponent with God's help.

"Just as David fought and triumphed over Goliath, we too stand here today proud of overcoming the impossible," says Noemia.

Attorneys representing the nuns have also prepared a lawsuit against Stone Park which could be filed next week, accusing the village of ignoring state law that prevents strip clubs from being built within a thousand feet of a place of worship.

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