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Oak Lawn Motel May Be Forced To Close After Incidents

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(Credit: AP)

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OAK LAWN, Ill. (CBS) — An Oak Lawn motel with a checkered past may be forced to shut down following a drug bust and recent death there.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports, the license for the Midway Inn & Suites, 9320 S. Cicero Ave., expires next month. Some Oak Lawn village trustees do not want it renewed.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports

The dissatisfaction with the motel comes after a 46-year-old man was found dead in the motel earlier this month. Daniel Scholl, who was described as homeless by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, was found dead in the motel in the wee hours on March 16.

Scholl had fallen in his room, but police said the fall was unrelated to his death. He had cirrhosis of the liver due to chronic alcoholism, according to the Medical Examiner’s office.

The man had been banned from staying at the motel, but the room in which he died was under someone else’s name, Oak Lawn Village Trustee Alex Olejniczak said.

In February, a suspect was arrested at the motel in connection with the sale of heroin and cocaine in the parking lot. The man who was arrested was not a motel resident.

Still, Olejniczak said the incidents are enough to provoke alarm.

“I am especially concerned when I see two incidents in a row,” Olejniczak said. “My recommendation is to not renew their license.”

The motel that previously operated at the site was shuttered for similar problems. The D-Lux Motel closed in July 2008 when the village, citing an uptick in crime, neighborhood complaints and drug activity, denied owners a business license renewal.

At a meeting with village trustees this past Tuesday, motel owners revealed a list of about 30 people who are banned from renting rooms because they violated rules such as damaging property or making excessive noise, said Olejniczak, who attended along with Police Chief Bill Villanova and village manager Larry Deetjen.

Although Scholl’s name was included and Olejniczak does not entirely blame the owners for what has occurred there, he said, “It’s concerning. These things are unacceptable. They knew coming in that this would be a highly watched business.”

Business partner Ted Kosir told the SouthtownStar on Friday that owners plan to increase lighting, add a security guard from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and install an electronic gate that would prevent people who don’t provide a name and room number from getting into the parking lot.

“Unfortunately, a few things have happened over the last few months. It was a situation I don’t like,” Kosir said. “I am committed to doing the best job I can possibly do.”

Kosir said that without a gate and lights, “It is not easy to see everyone coming and going.”

Kosir also said a recent reduction in rates is being rescinded and that the owners hope to meet with village officials again after the new security measures are implemented.

Mayor Dave Heilmann, who opposed letting Midway Inn & Suites open, said he was happy to hear that Olejniczak favors closing it.

When Midway Inn & Suites opened in 2010, the new owners met with area residents to ease their concerns about the sketchy activities at the D-Lux Motel. The new motel planned to accommodate business travelers and neighborhood businesses, and ownership agreed to limit occupancy to two people and require credit card payments, Olejniczak said.

“We checked them out thoroughly,” Deetjen said.

They also were cooperative with the police and gave the facility a significant facelift, officials said.

If the village decides not to renew the motel’s license, its owners can request an administrative hearing before the village board, Deetjen said.

“I hope it doesn’t come to that,” Kosir said.

The SouthtownStar contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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