CHICAGO (CBS) — Offenses involving illegal weapons, drugs, and COVID violations have all occurred under the roof of the same River North hotel – and now the city is demanding answers.
As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported Monday, the hotel could face major fines – and even lose its license.
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It is a troubling trend that city officials have been talking about for months now. With hotels taking a major hit during the pandemic, rates are low – and many have taken advantage, using rooms for large parties.
At Eurostars Magnificent Mile Hotel, 660 N. State St., those parties that have led to worse.
The hotel is just a couple of blocks from the Michigan Avenue Magnificent Mile. It calls itself a perfect getaway for travelers in the heart of the city.
But in the age of COVID-19, it has been called something else – a “hotspot” for crime. That is per Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), who told us he has asked police to keep a close eye on it and he has called for a crackdown there.
Ald. Reilly issued the following statement about the hotel and what has been going on there:
He also issued a letter to residents.
The city’s office of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has detailed some of Eurostars Magnificent Mile’s violations this past year.
They include “smoking of cannabis on the premises,” “aggravated unlawful use of a weapon,” “armed robbery,” “unlawfully possessed narcotics,” “criminal sexual assault,” and “domestic battery” – among other things.
BACP has issued a notice serving as the next step in a disciplinary process for the Eurostars. We are told it could have its license suspended or revoked after a hearing at end of the month.
BACP issued the following statement:
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“Over the past six months, the City of Chicago has received a number of complaints and referrals related to crime, public safety and nuisance issues at Eurostars Magnificent Mile, located at 660 N State St. In response to these issues, BACP has partnered with the Chicago Police Department to take enforcement action and has attempted to engage with the establishment to mitigate the problems. The issues have persisted, however, and as such, the City of Chicago has initiated the license discipline process by filing a Notice of Hearing against Eurostars Hotel.”
Hotel operators did not respond to our requests for a comment.
But a look at their recent reviews show city officials aren’t the only ones taking notice. Recent guests have been complaining about parties at all hours, with many mentioning, “The entire hotel smells like marijuana.”
The Eurostars isn’t alone. Issues stemming from hotel parties have been reported across the city throughout the pandemic.
There have been shootings inside and outside downtown hotels. In November, there was a shooting at the Swissotel, while in February, there was a stabbing outside the LondonHouse.
“There is no hotel in the city that has a policy that allows 75 people in one room,” said Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd).
Hopkins, whose ward covers another part of the city’s downtown district, said he is working directly with CPD and hotel operators to put an end to these issues – with a call for stricter monitoring of who is allowed up to a room.
“They need to fix their own problems, and they’re trying,” Hopkins said. We have to support them in their efforts to do so, because we need the hotel industry to bounce back.”
The Eurostars’ disciplinary hearing is set for April 28. Again, they did not respond to our requests for a comment on these issues.
The president of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association said the organization has working closely with the city to address these issues and put an end to these problems across Chicago. The full statement from Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Jacobson is as follows:
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“Unfortunately, like other industries, several Chicago hotels have experienced an uptick in crime in and around our properties over the past year. To ensure the safety of hotel guests and staff members, the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association continues to work closely with Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, as well as the Chicago Police Department, to put an end to these occurrences. Hotel operators have worked diligently to enhance security across the city, as these criminal cases not only damage hotel rooms but they jeopardize the safety of our employees and customers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have encouraged hotels across Chicago and the state of Illinois to abide by the rules outlined by public officials, implement enhanced cleaning procedures and create social distancing measures to protect the wellbeing of everyone that enters hotel establishments. We will continue to work with city officials and the appropriate stakeholders so that hotels can continue operating safely.”