Commission takes no action against Elgin Moose Lodge
By Mike Danahey email@example.com January 8, 2014 8:14PM
The Elgin Moose Club lodge. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: February 10, 2014 11:48AM
Acting in its role as Elgin’s liquor control commission, the city council heard an apology from Moose Lodge 799 members for a Sept. 27 incident — and informally put the kibosh on video gaming parlors coming to town.
Moose officials had been requested to come before the commission to discuss the fall Friday night in which some members apparently helped Anthony Oswald — who was wanted on drug charges in Chicago — flee the club then lied to police about the man’s whereabouts before police convinced those members to get the man to return to face arrest.
Lodge Treasurer Ed Kenny apologized to police for the events of that night and promised that something like that would not happen again, and promised the club would “pay more attention to whom we let in and do our due diligence.” Moose administrator Boyd Purves said staff has been told that anytime police want to gain entry into the lodge they are to let them in.
The evidence pointing toward aiding the suspect was recorded on the club’s own recently installed security cameras, according to a case report. What it pointed out was the ranking Moose members Mark Camacho and Edgar Bash — identified as Nash in the police report — had been lying to the police about seeing Oswald, and that Nash apparently helped Oswald flee the scene.
The club’s governor, Richard Henson, became argumentative with police about the matter upon returning to the club with Oswald, told police they had no right to be in the lodge without a warrant, and said what happened was a family matter for the Moose to handle.
Last month, Elgin Mayor David Kaptain said he received a letter from the club’s executive board and director noting that Henson had been suspended from the Moose for a year and was not allowed to go into any Moose lodge for that period. Oswald is suspended while his matter is handled by the courts and, if he is found guilty, he will be expelled from the club, according to the letter. There were no disciplinary measures mentioned for other Moose members.
Wednesday afternoon the commission learned that Camacho has since resigned his post, but is still allowed to be a member.
Bash is now governor of the local lodge and admitted he made a mistake that night, getting caught up in Oswald’s problems. He explained he had been trying to help Oswald and had been working to get him to turn himself in on the warrant and had hired a lawyer for Oswald. He said Oswald already has appeared before the courts, and was assigned to take two classes, one of which he already has taken.
Kenny said that the Tuesday after the incident the Elgin lodge notified the Moose International offices of what happened, and that the locals found out about the discipline for Henson and Oswald by letter Nov. 28.
No formal action was taken by the commission on the matter, and all members appeared to accept the apologies.
Councilman/commissioner Terry Gavin said that he was amazed when he first read the report, as there had been no troubles like this there before. He added he realized it was not what the club represents, which is what made it so shocking.
“Be careful,” Gavin said.
As for video gaming parlors, an informal poll revealed all were opposed to them coming to town, especially if most of their revenue would be generated by gambling.
The matter came up during a discussion with representatives of Crown Pointe Amusement regarding proposed liquor license in connection with a proposed coffee shop and video gaming establishment called Java Jills at 176 E. Chicago St. in downtown Elgin. The spot had been Ravenheart Coffee, which closed the day after Thanksgiving.
Java Jills is a chain that began eight years ago in West Virginia. Proprietor Donald Thatcher of Naperville told the commission he already has opened three spots in Chicago’s southwestern suburbs and hopes to have as many as 100 across the state.
The concept is to serve light food, muffins, coffee and wine, with the demographic being women ages 40 - 60 who might not go to a bar or casino.
Kaptain said that about a week after Elgin approved video gaming last March, people wanting to start similar establishments began contacting the city. He called such places “small casinos,” and asked other commissioners their opinions. They unanimously agreed that they do not want such businesses in a town that already has a casino.