Village President sells building after buyer receives liquor license
Liquor code change allowed for indirect interest in the business
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURNâ€”Elburn Village President Dave Anderson sold his building at 107 N. Main St. on July 23 to Kevin Schmidt, three days after Schmidt obtained a village liquor license for the site, Village Attorney Bob Britz said.
Anderson said it was under contract for the previous two months, and under negotiation since February. Schmidt said he would not buy the building unless the village granted him a Class A liquor license for the site, so that he could open a tavern there.
Schmidt applied for the liquor license on May 13, a few days after Dave Anderson took the oath of office as the new village president.
A May 19 letter drafted by Schmidt’s attorney stated that Dave Anderson and Kevin Schmidt had reached an agreement for the purchase of the property, but that one term of the agreement between the parties was that the sale was contingent upon Schmidt being approved for a local liquor license.
On June 15, village trustees created a new available Class A liquor license but Schmidt was not granted a Class A license until July 20.
The village liquor code stated that a liquor license could not be issued to a business in which the village president or a village trustee had any direct or indirect interest.
Britz told village officials June 15 that removing the word â€œindirectâ€ from the local liquor code first would need to take place, so that the local code matched the state liquor code, Village Administrator Erin Willrett said Tuesday.
The state, however, did not require the removal of the word â€œindirectâ€ from Elburn’s liquor code. In addition, the village has approved other liquor licenses without changing its liquor code wording.
Britz, while he has been village attorney for Elburn, also has served as Anderson’s private counsel on legal matters including real estate transactions.
Britz and village staff then drafted an ordinance for the wording change, which trustees unanimously approved July 20. Trustee Bill Grabarek, as Deputy Liquor Commissioner, granted a Class A liquor license to Schmidt directly after the July 20 meeting, Britz said.
â€œI thought that with the word ‘indirect’ still in, there would have been a potential issue,â€ Grabarek said Wednesday. â€œThe issue was that because the mayor (Dave Anderson) owned the building, basically we needed to knock out the word ‘indirect,â€™ to avoid the appearance of impropriety.â€
The license Grabarek granted Schmidt was one of two available Class A licenses, another of which the board approved earlier that evening, July 20.