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Felony Franks Sues City to Hang Sign

By Chuck Sudo in Food on May 9, 2011 9:10PM

2011_5_9_felony_franks.jpg Felony Franks owner Jim Andrews and 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti have been at loggerheads for years over Andrews's insistence on playing up the convict angle of his business for promotional purposes. Andrews, to his credit, walks the walk, giving ex-cons a second chance by hiring them to work his Near West Side hot dog stand and his paper company business. But the seemingly cavalier attitude in how he markets Felony Franks -- home of the "Misdemeanor Wiener," "Probation Burgers" and "Pardon Polish" -- has rubbed neighbors and Firoetti the wrong way since he opened his hot dog stand two years ago. Now Andrews is suing the city so that he can hang a sign at Felony Franks, as well as $300,000 in damages for what he says is lost business because he doesn't have a sign.

Fioretti has long opposed Andrews's attempts to hang a sign at Felony Franks. the City Council Transportation and the Public Way Committee voted in a split decision last week against allowing Andrews his sign, despite city Law Department counsel that disapproving the request could lead to a First Amendment lawsuit the city may lose.

Felony Franks already has a large mural on its storefront of its logo that may be able to be seen from space. At this point, it appears as though the argument between Andrews and Fioretti is one of approach. Andrews recognizes he has a gimmick he can work and Fioretti chafes at Andrews's working of the gimmick. By that same token, while Fioretti may not lose sleep if Felony Franks did shutter its doors, Andrews's hot dog stand is still open for business.