City, state investigating River North nightclub’s liquor license
BY STEVE WARMBIR Staff Reporteremail@example.com May 8, 2011 11:38PM
Ontourage nightclub, 157 W Ontario, is owned by Morton High School District 201 President Jeff Pesek and his brother Craig. Their friend Mark Polchan, treasurer of the Outlaw motorcycle gang, did security work at the club.
Updated: June 10, 2011 12:23AM
The city of Chicago and the state are investigating issues surrounding the liquor license held by a popular River North bar after the Chicago Sun-Times revealed that its owner and manager — two brothers from Cicero who are town consultants and elected officials — have ties to a major drug dealer and a ranking motorcycle gang member.
The investigation centers on the ownership of Ontourage, 157 W. Ontario.
On liquor license paperwork with the city and state, Craig Pesek, an economic development consultant for Cicero, is listed as the sole owner. He did not return a message for comment Friday.
But in testimony in a federal mob trial last year, a cocaine and heroin dealer, Enrique “Henry” Rendon, testified that he was “a silent partner” in the nightclub.
“What does a silent partner mean?” federal prosecutor Amarjeet Bhachu asked Rendon during the trial.
“Just a partner that’s not recognized as far as liquor licensing goes,” Rendon said.
“And why were you not on the paperwork?” Bhachu asked.
“I’m a felon,” Rendon explained.
Rendon testified he helped find other investors in the club through a Pesek family member.
Jeff Pesek, who was recently re-elected board president of Morton High School District 201, which serves Cicero and Berwyn students, also testified at trial, under a grant of immunity from prosecution.
Pesek, who has managed the club, acknowledged in his testimony there were other investors in the club originally.
“Were they not declared as investors in filings with the city of Chicago?” Bhachu asked.
“No, there were no other declarations, no,” Pesek said.
Both Craig and Jeff Pesek are consultants with the Town of Cicero. They and their family and their family’s businesses donated or loaned nearly $100,000 to get Larry Dominick elected town president in 2005 and re-elected in 2009. The brothers have been paid under the Dominick administration more than $800,000 as consultants.
Jeff Pesek also testified in court that Ontourage would buy its liquor from sources other than distributors, a possible violation of state law.
“And you knew that to be wrong, correct?” Bhachu asked Pesek.
“Correct,” Pesek said.
The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is looking into the matter, spokeswoman Sue Hofer said.
Pesek has said he did nothing wrong but has refused to answer questions publicly, even after more than 150 parents and students attended a school board meeting last month, with many demanding his resignation.
Mark Polchan, the onetime treasurer of the local Outlaw motorcycle gang, and a childhood friend of Jeff Pesek, was employed as security at Ontourage.
Polchan and the Pesek brothers were caught on tape in 2007, just months after Jeff Pesek was elected to the school board, discussing Polchan’s concern he would be arrested for a mob-ordered bombing of a Berwyn business and whether the brothers would post his bond.
Polchan’s worries came true. He was arrested, held without bond and convicted of the crime last year at trial.