Friday, April 8, 2011


Civic leaders, block clubs, and city officials celebrated success in a 3-year grassroots battle to close a problem liquor store in East Garfield Park. Responding to complaints and demands from neighbors and police, Alderman Robert Fioretti, the Department of Buildings, and the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection worked to document both the poor condition of the building housing Willis Liquor & Sundries at 2901 West Madison Street, and the problems plaguing the neighborhood because of the way the business was operated and the unsavory elements it attracted.
    The business was closed by the Department of Buildings and the Circuit Court because of the condition of the structure. More than 40 code violations were lodged against the business. Two community meetings were held with the Business Affairs Department. Area residents complained that the store sold liquor to minors and gangbangers, and attracted prostitutes, drug dealers, and thieves to the neighborhood.
    Finally, the owner of Willis Liquor surrendered his licenses and ended his attempts to reopen. The building is now in Demolition Court as the City pursues efforts to tear it down.
    Malik Elliott, East Garfield Park Commercial District Manager, says, “This is not about closing stores, but about making store owners more accountable.” Ald. Fioretti says he is working to bring more convenience stores into the community.
    The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, as lead agency for the East Garfield Park New Communities Program, a long-term project of Local Initiatives Support Corporation/Chicago (LISC) to promote comprehensive community development, supported the citizen campaign to close Willis Liquor and is working with residents, City, and Chamber of Commerce to design a viable business plan for the Madison Street commercial corridor.
    In the past year, a coalition of block clubs on Monroe, Wilcox, and Adams has been collaborating to address crime, organize neighborhood cleanups, create community gardens on empty lots, and pressure absentee owners to secure their vacant buildings. The Monroe, Wilcox & Adams Block Club is a diverse mix of residents representing a strong commitment to their neighborhood.
    John Perryman, who lives behind Willis Liquors, says there are a lot of empty lots in the area, so he wants to see people buy them and build businesses. He says he also wants families to move into the many vacant houses in the area.


Koolaid also owns this restaurant at Laramie & Lake, which authorities may seek to seize as fruit of an illegal enterprise.
    On March 15, Chicago Police Gang Investigations Unit officers, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area agents, and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office climaxed a 14-month ongoing Criminal Drug conspiracy investigation with the arrest of notorious druglord Kevin Shorter, aka Koolaid, and 14 members of his gang. Police called the mission OPERATION 438 for the numeric abbreviation for the 4 Corner Hustlers Street Gang – 4CH. Shorter and his henchmen are allegedly active members of the 4 Corner Hustlers.
    During the course of this investigation, undercover officers conducted numerous purchases of cocaine and marijuana in the area of North Avenue to Bloomingdale Avenue and Long Avenue to Leclaire Avenue in North Austin. Police used a variety of investigative techniques to gather evidence substantiating charges of Felony Criminal Drug Conspiracy, Delivery of a Controlled Substance, Delivery of Cannabis, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon against arrested offenders.    OPERATION 438 targeted the cocaine distribution network run predominantly by members of the 4 Corner Hustlers on Chicago’s West Side. During the course of the investigation, police officers learned that Kevin Shorter used a source of supply for the cocaine and marijuana – Lekendrick Richards – a California resident. Richards frequently shipped quantities of cocaine and marijuana to Shorter via UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. The bulk quantities of the drugs were sold to individuals who then repackaged them in smaller street-level quantities and sold them throughout Chicago neighborhoods.
    During this 14-month ongoing investigation, police executed four search warrants seizing 594 grams of powder cocaine with an estimated street value of $74,250; 570 grams of crack cocaine worth $70,048; 1,477 grams of cannabis with an estimated street value of $23,641; and four firearms.
    On March 15, police officers executed four additional search warrants, recovering 1,010.6 grams of cannabis with an estimated street value of $15,136; approximately 16 grams of heroin with an estimated value of $2,400; four more handguns; seized four vehicles; and arrested 15 individuals, including Shorter.
    Conducting OPERATION 438 for the Chicago Police Department Gang Investigations Unit are officers under the command of Lieutenant Scott Dedore, Lieutenant Eric Washington (now interim 11th District Commander), Commander Joe Gorman, and Sergeant Joseph Brennan.
    Shorter grew up on the 1600-block of Latrobe Avenue and recruited teenagers in the neighborhood to his drug enterprise. He purchased a building on the south side of North Avenue, opening a beauty salon called Hype Hair and using the apartments above it to house his drug dealers. Recently, he took ownership of a fast-food restaurant at Lake Street & Laramie Avenue called Season N Salt. Authorities tell THE VOICE they may take action to seize these under the Gang & Drug House Ordinance as being part of his criminal enterprise. Several years ago, when THE VOICE reported that Drug Enforcement agents and Chicago Police were investigating Shorter, he and his henchmen threatened to kill the staff of THE VOICE Newspapers.


 •    KEVIN Koolaid SHORTER, 3748 W. Eastwood Avenue,
    Criminal Drug Conspiracy (9-40 years – IDOC)
 •    SAM Black CAIN, 1754 N. Lorel Avenue,
    Criminal Drug Conspiracy (9-40 years – IDOC)
 •    DARYL D4 HARRIS, 5160 W. Wabansia Avenue,
    Criminal Drug Conspiracy (9-40 years – IDOC)
 •    LEKENDRICK RICHARDS, Los Angeles, California,
    Criminal Drug Conspiracy (9-40 years – IDOC)
 •    RON HARRIS, 5160 W. Wabansia Avenue,
    Delivery of Cannabis (2-5 years – IDOC)
 •    EDDIE KNIGHTEN, 906 N. Kildare Avenue, Possession of
    Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute (6-30 years – IDOC)
 •    ANTAVIOUS Tavi MURPH, 5500 W. Gladys Avenue,
    Delivery of Controlled Substance (9-40 years – IDOC)
 •    DAVID FLEMING, Green Bay, Wisconsin, Possession of
    Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute (9-40 years – IDOC)
 •    SHAWN SHERMAN, Franklin Park, Illinois, Possession of
    Controlled Substance (1-3 years – IDOC)
 •    ANTUAN Scotty ALMON, 2834 W. Walnut Street,
    Possession of Controlled Substance (4-15 years – IDOC)
 •    JOHN MACON 18 N. Lockwood Avenue, Possession of
    Controlled Substance (1-3 years – IDOC)
 •    DERICK MITCHELL, 4333 W. Cortez Avenue, Possession of
    Controlled Substance (6-30 years – IDOC)
 •    A. WILKERSON, 5013 W. Bloomingdale Avenue,
    Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon (2-4 years – IDOC)
 •    LASHAWN CAIN, 1754 N. Lorel Avenue,
    Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a Felon (2-4 years – IDOC)
 •    WILLIE WILLIAMS, 1748 N. Lorel Avenue,
    Unlawful Use of a Weapon, No FOID (Up to 1 year – IDOC)

Kevin Shorter, aka Koolaid, owns this building on North Ave., and police say he is still housing his drug dealing crew in the apartments. Authorities say they may seek to seize the building under the Gang & Drug House Ordinance.

Lawndale Cinemas reopens, Michael Chandler works for jobs.

Lawndale Cinemas Reopening: A line of job-seekers wait for employment applications for 22 jobs at the long-closed movie theatre at Homan & Roosevelt. It is being reopened in phases, beginning April 15. (Photo by Isaac Jones)
Michael Chandler greets voters & job-seekers at the Lawndale Cinemas after meeting with owners about plans to reopen the theatre he brought to the Homan-Roosevelt Mall. Chandler is seeking to reclaim his old job in the April 5 Aldermanic Runoff Election. (Photo by Isaac Jones)
Michael Chandler returns to the Homan-Roosevelt Mall to encourage people seeking jobs at the Lawndale Cinemas. He was responsible for opening the shopping mall and attracting the theatre when he served as 24th ward alderman. (Photo by Isaac Jones)


Prevention Partnership