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Arrest warrant issued for heir to steel company on gun charges

James B. Finkl Finkl Enterprises. | Courtesy Finkl Enterprises

James B. Finkl of Finkl Enterprises. | Courtesy Finkl Enterprises

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Updated: April 8, 2013 7:38AM

A judge issued an arrest warrant Wednesday for Chicago steel-company heir James B. Finkl on misdemeanor gun charges in a case that had fallen into limbo for nearly three years, until a report in the Chicago Sun-Times prompted a new look at the case.

Cook County Judge Clarence L. Burch ordered the arrest after Finkl, 49, failed to show up in court Wednesday. A City Hall lawyer told the judge the city had tried several times to notify Finkl he needed to be there.

“Issue a warrant,” the judge ordered.

He said Finkl — whose family formerly owned the A. Finkl & Sons Co. steel business on the Near North Side — was “obviously avoiding” being served court papers in the case.

The case stems from a Chicago Police Department raid in which 36 guns — including four assault rifles — were seized from Finkl’s River North mansion. Finkl was arrested at his sprawling, 14,000-square-foot home, which records show includes a basement firing range, on May 19, 2010, a day after the police seized the guns.

He was taken to the 18th District police station. That’s where Officer Daniel Shields — his business partner at that time in Jetty Security, a private security firm — works.

Finkl is no longer business partners with Shields, according to a lawyer for Shields, whose brother, Officer Michael Shields, is president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 7, the union for Chicago cops. Michael Shields was elected to the top union post 10 months after the raid on Finkl’s house on West Huron Street. Dan Shields is a sergeant-at-arms with the union.

Finkl faces 40 misdemeanor counts that accuse him of possessing unregistered guns and ammunition within the city limits.

After a Cook County judge granted a continuance in the case in the summer of 2010, the court file vanished. The case remained dormant — not dropped but not being pursued — until a report in the Sun-Times Jan. 28 prompted the city’s law department to reinstate the charges and the police internal affairs division to begin investigating.

In November, Finkl helped create another security company, Shadow 300 LLC, based at his home, state records show. The company’s employees include current and retired Chicago police officers, according to its website, which lists Finkl as chief executive officer.

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