Friday, October 19, 2012

ICE Theaters EVICTED from Chatham!

(see bottom of post for updates)   When stopping by the ICE Theaters in Chatham this evening, we discovered a neon green sign from the Cook County Sheriff's office that the ICE Theater was evicted form the building. According to the sign, this happened TODAY (Friday, October 19), some time just before the movies were about to begin.

There were addtional yellow signs which stated that the closure was temporary and would open soon. These were signs that looked like they were printed from a computer, which may indicate an actual attempt to re-open (as opposed to handwritten signs which are hastily put up to give hope to surprised customers).

Looking at the ICE Theater Facebook page, an entry was posted by ICE as of 12 noon , promoting the Alex Cross movie. However, a patron also wrote on the Facebook page that she went to the 12:30pm showing of that same movie, and the doors were closed. People who had purchased tickets in advance had no idea that they theater was closed, and neither did a busful of seniors.

We do not know if the ICE Theater in Lawndale is also closed, or who will be taking over the theater and at what time. We will attempt to do research (or pass it on to full time journalists) to find out what is happening, or has happened with Donzell & Alisa Starks, co-owners of ICE Development, L.L.C. (ICE Theaters is, or perhaps was, an African-American owned theater). We also do not know who currently owns the building (and thus have the right to evict ICE Development).

As of 6pm, there were no news stories from the Chicago Tribune's Chicago Breaking News site.

In January 2011, we re-posted here an entry Worlee through his Concerned Citizens of Chatham blog wrote about Stonehenge Capital Company financing $10 million to help re-open the Lawndale Theater, as well as renovations for Chatham. 

ICE Parking lot as of 5pm. There was security patrol car, as well as a Chicago Police car (on the side, out of range of this photo), and several cars who stopped by the see what happened as they were attempting to see a movie. )

A phone call to the theater's main phone number (773-892-3204) showed a few things:
  • In going to the Chatham section, and pressing the number for showtimes, a message simply said "The Theater is closed"
  • In going to the Lawndale section, the schedule given was for LAST week's schedule.
Also, a search with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds showed several mortgages taken out.

The Chicago Sun Times posted a story as of 9:33pm (and updated ~ 10:17pm)  regarding the closure in Chatham, but noted that the Lawndale facility was still in operation.

We emailed the President of Inner City Entertainment, Mrs. Alisha Starks about the status of Chatham 14 and she responded that the closure is the result of an internal dispute between the owners Mr and Mrs. Donzell and Alisha Starks and Mr. Michael Silver.

On Tuesday, we posted the official press release on the resolution to this matter.

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