The sale of Big Pappa’s Gyros hit a snag, and may be in jeopardy according to the company’s attorney, as the Village of Oak Lawn failed to act on a request for a liquor license for the fast food establishment’s new owner, who had proposed changing the name to “Anna’s Gaming and Gyros”.
Mayor Sandra Bury asked for a motion on the liquor license request at the regular board meeting but none of the six Trustees responded with a motion to grant the license.
The new owner had requested a liquor license in the new company name. Big Pappa’s was awarded a license in February, 2014 in a 3-2 vote. At that time, Trustees Terry Vorderer (Dist. 4) and Michael Carberry (Dist. 6) questioned whether it was appropriate to increase the number of liquor licenses to allow Big Pappa’s Gyros to add gambling at the time. Trustee Robert Streit (Dist. 3) was not at the February meeting.
While Big Pappa’s attorney, former Village Trustee Michael Walsh, argued in favor of the new license, Vorderer and Carberry remained opposed to the license even though Walsh said the sale will likely not occur without the approval. In February, Vorderer said he was voting “no” because he said he was limiting himself on approving video gaming at “fast food restaurants”. In the most recent meeting, he said that he didn’t see a reason to change that position.
Carberry said that he agreed with Vorderer adding that it wasn’t the right fit for Oak Lawn.
In February, Carberry said that the village needed to figure out what it was going to do with the video gaming issue. Village Attorney Paul O’Grady had told the board at the time that the law firm was working with State Senator Bill Cunningham on legislation to limit video gaming. O’Grady has not reported any progress on that work to the board.
Walsh told the board that the restaurant would operate almost identically to the current operation but would have a different name. That fact caused outgoing Trustee Carol Quinlan (Dist. 5) to say that the name concerned her because “that’s not Oak Lawn”. She said she didn’t approve of the new name because the new owner was making the “gaming” the more prominent part of the business.
Quinlan said, “That’s not what our community is about.”
Walsh said that he didn’t understand how the board was protecting anyone by failing to call for a vote.
Oak Lawn received $38,084.03 in March from the State of Illinois tax on video gaming based on gaming revenue at the 30 locations in the village. Big Pappa’s Gyros brought in $328.13 for the village in March. In the month, only $82,819.37 was wagered at the establishment. Some establishments in town have wagering that is close to one million dollars.
Licensees receive 35% of the tax revenue while villages only receive 5%.