The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Congress Theater's Partner Out Of Renovation Project

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 17, 2012 5:30PM

The July announcement by Congress Theater owner Eddie Carranza that he was partnering with local marketing firm Doejo in an extensive renovation and rehab of the Logan Square concert hall was met with skepticism, given the Congress’ history of public nuisance complaints and Carranza’s running of the place.

WBEZ’s Jim DeRogatis reports that DoeJo is now out of the Congress renovation project and fingers are pointing on both sides. DoeJo’s Phil Tadros spoke a very different tune in a press release:

“Though we wish the building and community well, Doejo will no longer be working on the Congress renovation due to breach of contract. We were proud to provide a foundation of innovative work for this landmark space but will not be able to continue due to non-payment.”

Tadros went on to tell DeRo what most already assume of Carranza: that he’s batshit crazy and “kind of a slum lord.”

“He’s not a maintenance person; he’s kind of a slum lord,” Tadros said. “I told him before, if you want something awesome to happen here, just walk away. But he kept coming in and changing things. I was like, are you loony? He’s kind of nuts.”

Carranza, who by now knows who DeRogatis is and who he writes for, referred comment to his attorney, Thomas Raines. Raines said that DoeJo was paid $270,000 with no accounting of how the money was spent, so Carranza decided to terminate the agreement. Raines added the Congress’ renovation project will continue.

This latest twist won’t alleviate any fears people have about Carranza’s ownership of the Congress and the Portage Theater, which he bought earlier this month. Critics of Carranza have long said he should be taking care of the complaints about the Congress before he decided to buy another venue. Carranza, responding to questions from Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno (1st) and John Arena (45th) about how he managed to finance the Portage deal, said:

“Have you ever heard of Bank Loans? Bank loans is where entrepreneurs go to borrow money to grow their businesses. Banks like what we do so they lend to us money. Bank loans have been going on for hundreds of years.”

If that’s the case, maybe bank loan officers should go to a show at the Congress sometime. Maybe they’ll leave with a different opinion and feel as burned as Tadros and others trying to do business with Carranza.