A MULTI-MILLION dollar strip club is set to open next door to a Chicago convent, and the nuns say they did not find out until it was too late.
The Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo said yesterday they had been told the building being erected just a stone’s throw from the Melrose Park convent’s vegetable garden was a restaurant.
“But officially we received the news it is a gentleman’s cabaret,” Sister Marissonia Daltoe told myFOXchicago.com.
“We are religious. We espouse certain beliefs. As Catholic religious we take vows, and we have something like this totally opposite going on,” she said. “It’s not safe.”
The club’s owner, Bob Itzkow, denied the $US3 million, 1672 square metre facility – called “Get It” – was a strip club, describing it as a “cabaret with nudity” like Lido in Paris, featuring hi-tech, 3D projections and a top shelf restaurant.
“It’s entertainment for mature audiences,” Mr Itzkow said.
He also said they have sound-proofed the Stone Park building and focused the lighting so the nuns and the club’s other neighbours would not be disturbed.
“We’ve taken great care to make sure we don’t disturb our neighbours,” Mr Itzkow said. “It’s a privilege to be here.”
Stone Park mayor Ben Mazzulla said the village trustees tried to stop the club from being built, voting against it twice.
“It was something these individuals applied for, fought for zoning change, and something we were strongly against,” Mr Mazzulla said. “(We) voted no, because there was a convent there. It’s a religious order.”
“Morally, this board didn’t like this idea,” one trustee said, “because of the nuns.”
But Mr Itzkow sued, saying the zoning allows it, and a judge allowed it to open. Village officials said they had no choice.
The nuns said they were not informed about the application, but the village’s attorneys responded by saying they had been notified by certified mail.
The nuns said they never received that letter — it was sent to the wrong address.
“Get It” is set to open this spring.
Melrose Park mayor Ron Serpico said via a spokesman that he is “shocked and sickened” by the situation, and will do all he can to prevent the club from opening