Thursday, February 28, 2019
County Moves to Close Alleged Adult Business in Wheaton
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin announced today that DuPage County has filed a lawsuit against Hot Shots Photography Studio, located at 0N758 Gary Avenue, Wheaton, alleging that the business has been operating as an adult business and not as a photography studio as advertised. This morning, the State’s Attorney’s Office filed a verified complaint for injunctive relief and zoning violations against Hot Shots, alleging violations of the DuPage County Zoning Ordinance and state statutes regarding the location of adult entertainment facilities and adult business uses.
The lawsuit alleges that Hot Shots advertised on adult websites commonly used to advertise adult escort services by placing personal ads that included a telephone number to call for escort services. The suit alleges that respondents to the ad would be screened by an employee of Hot Shots and then directed to the Gary Avenue location. The lawsuit further alleges that once a respondent entered Hot Shots they were charged $100 as a cover fee and then directed to a room where the respondent would be met by an employee of Hot Shots who would discuss services and payment, with payment “ranging from $500 to $1,500.” The suit further alleges that after receiving payment, employees of Hot Shots would then engage in sexual activity with the respondent. In November, 2018, the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office began an undercover investigation into potential illegal activity and/or prostitution occurring at Hot Shots. The alleged findings of the investigation, according to the suit, “cause Hot Shots to be defined as an adult business use as defined in the DuPage County Zoning Ordinance, and thus constitutes a basis by which that use violates the ordinance.” Additionally, the suit alleges that “the business operations of Hot Shots are such that a significant or substantial portion of such operations involve an activity distinguished or characterized by its emphasis on matters depicting, describing or relating to specified sexual activities.”
The suit alleges Hot Shots has violated several County ordinances by:
• Operating and maintaining an adult business in a B2 Zoning district
• Operating an adult business within 1000’ of residentially zoned property
• Operating an adult business within 1000’ of a school
• Operating an adult business within 1000’ of an “active recreational facility” – Wheaton North High School’s athletic fields
The suit also alleges that Hot Shots is in violation of a State statute that prohibits operating an adult business within one mile of a school, day care center, cemetery, public park, church or public housing.
“The type of establishment allegedly operated by Hot Shots has no business being located anywhere near a residential area, school or any other location where children are present,” Berlin said. “I would like to thank Chairman Cronin for his continued efforts in ensuring that this type of business not be allowed to operate near a school or any other area frequented by children. I would also like to thank DuPage County Sheriff Jim Mendrick for his office’s work in helping us bring this lawsuit. I would also like to thank Assistant State’s Attorney’s Conor McCarthy and Tony Hayman for their work on this case.
“I’m pleased that after several long months, the residents near this business finally have some relief,” Cronin said. “I’d like to thank the State’s Attorney and the Sheriff’s Office for their diligent work to keep our community safe and protect our residents. We have been watching this property closely, and through the development of our Adult Businesses Committee, have been working toward proper regulations to reduce the harmful effects this business and others like it can have on the community.”
In the suit, the County is seeking to temporarily and permanently prohibit Hot Shots from operating an “adult business use” at the location or any prohibited unincorporated location in DuPage County.