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Double Door Co-Owners Vow To Keep Fighting After Eviction

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 7, 2017 7:07PM

double door photo via instagram

The co-owners of Double Door said they will carry through their appeal and maintain their right to further potential legal claims against the landlord after the legendary club was evicted from its longtime Wicker Park location on Monday.

Co-owner Sean Mulroney said Double Door had three times given Brian Strauss, the landlord of the property, at 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave, rent payments for January and February, but Strauss "refused to accept" them. “In the interest of protecting both employees and performers at Double Door, we attempted to craft a deal to guarantee our residency through June of 2017," Mulroney said in a statement.

Attorney James McKay, who represents Strauss, disputed Mulroney's claim, telling Chicagoist that payment was never tendered. "Those were just words," McKay said.

McKay told Chicagoist on Monday that the club has failed to pay any of the $468,000 bond ordered by Cook County Circuit Judge Hambright.

Mulroney and Double Door co-owner Joe Shanahan's camp claimed on Tuesday that Strauss did not offer sufficient reasoning for the Monday-morning eviction. “We were negotiating in good faith until 6:00 p.m. on Friday in my office,” Double Door attorney Cary G. Schiff said in a statement. “While the negotiations did take a pause, there was no good faith explanation for the Sheriff arriving first thing Monday morning. I can only conclude that was the plan all along.”

Schiff added that a deal would have required the club to loses its license and intellectual property, plus a large security deposit and increased rent.

Still, Shanahan struck an optimistic note on Tuesday, even as he and Mulroney vowed to keep legal channels open in the long, year-plus battle with Strauss.

“This is merely another chapter for Double Door—it is not the end of its iconic presence as a music venue and arts incubator in Chicago,” Shanahan said in a statement. “Double Door will continue to commit itself to protecting its staff, bands, residencies, and partners in its current location for as long as possible.”

Meanwhile, Shanahan and Mulroney continue to eye a space in Logan Square for a new Double Door location. The club's calendar has shows scheduled through late April at the Wicker Park address, but those dates remain very much jeopardized: the locks were changed during Monday's eviction, and McKay reiterated to Chicagoist on Tuesday that Double has "no right legally to those premises." A whole new agreement, perhaps a new lease, would have to be arranged in order for Double Door to host the scheduled concerts, he said.

The iconic club was a key player in Wicker Park’s ‘90s alt-rock salad days, hosting the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair and Veruca Salt. In recent years, the club beefed up its hip-hop and dance-music programming, becoming a mainstay in those scenes as well.