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Souvenir shop sues Cubs owners, McDonald’s over land lease

The McDonald's site across street from Wrigley Field was sold Ricketts family owners Cubs. Now souvenir shop owner is suing

The McDonald's site across the street from Wrigley Field was sold to the Ricketts family, owners of the Cubs. Now a souvenir shop owner is suing over the sale, saying the business has a valid lease to use a spot there. AP

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Updated: March 25, 2012 8:18AM

A sports memorabilia business that for decades has sold souvenirs at Clark and Addison across from Wrigley Field is charging that it’s being unlawfully pushed out of its coveted location with opening day just five weeks away.

Those doing the pushing, according to a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, include McDonald’s Corp. and the Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs. The club plans to sell its own merchandise from the same property, part of a parking lot for a McDonald’s restaurant.

Chicago Sports & Novelty Inc. said it has sold its wares from the corner since 1970. It said it has a valid lease to use the property through at least 2015 when the Cubs play at home.

But the suit said the lease was canceled after McDonald’s Corp. sold the property to the Rickettses for $20 million last November. The family has bought properties around the ballpark to control their future development.

A spokesman for the Rickettses said they “hope the matter can be resolved because they have some great offerings planned for fans” at that location. A McDonald’s spokesman said the company is looking into the allegations.

The suit was filed Wednesday and also names as a defendant Mayasol LLC, a franchisee that operates the McDonald’s.

The complaint charges that Mayasol and McDonald’s fabricated a termination of Mayasol’s franchise agreement as a ruse for canceling the lease with Chicago Sports. The Rickettses “knew of the existence of the lease” and Mayasol continues to operate the restaurant, the suit alleged.

An attorney for Mayasol referred questions to McDonald’s. Records show the company is in Northfield.

Chicago Sports is owned by Anthony Pesha and his family, said the complaint. The family’s attorney, Daniel Ryan of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, declined to comment.

The family has a store at 1153 W. Addison and often refers customers there from its trailers at Clark and Addison. It cited a likelihood of substantial financial losses if it cannot set up near the ballpark’s main entrance.

The company website said it also operates at 332 N. Michigan, McCormick Place and at a game-day location outside U.S. Cellular Field.

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