Top

music

Stories

 

Hill could not be reached for comment. Parks says the dismissal of his appointee, whose duties included "the total management of all liquor licenses in terms of fees," is unrelated to the investigation.

The day after the city hall raid, federal agents struck again. The U.S. Secret Service, along with deputy U.S. Marshals and East St. Louis police, arrested Robert Williams, owner of Club TV One, a nightspot in downtown East St. Louis that had been open less than three months. A search of the club unearthed 419 pounds of marijuana stuffed into "eleven large military-style duffel bags." Williams has been charged with mail and wire fraud and with transporting more than $5,000 worth of stolen property across state lines.

Finally, as if to drive home their point, on the morning of Sunday, April 12, state and federal agencies joined forces to conduct a "roadside safety check" of all vehicles entering downtown East St. Louis via eastbound Interstate 64 between midnight and 4 a.m. More than 50 agents, officers and deputies from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Illinois State Patrol and the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department were present.

The squad arrested 22 people on outstanding warrants, 7 for driving under the influence, and 4 for misdemeanor drug possession (3 for marijuana and 1 for crack cocaine). Another 49 were cited for having an open alcohol container in a vehicle, and 39 were caught driving with suspended or revoked licenses. Officers seized two illegal firearms — an assault rifle and an unregistered pistol.

"If you pulled up and could produce a driver's license and had your seatbelt on — unless you rolled down the window and a purple cloud of [marijuana] smoke came out — you were on your way," Bramlett says, adding, "I think it's indicative of type of clientele they have coming into the city."


Beneath its chaotic veneer, East St. Louis possesses a strong sense of community. There's a sizable elderly population that can still remember the days when the population topped 80,000 and jobs were more plentiful. Churches are ubiquitous and play a vital role in local politics.

Both camps were up in arms by March 31, when Parks convened his "emergency town-hall meeting" to discuss the federal investigation and the suddenly pressing issue of the nightclubs. Several hundred residents, a noisy herd of media and nearly the entire East St. Louis police force packed city hall to hear what the mayor had to say.

Dressed in a navy suit, starched white shirt and red tie, the silver-tongued Parks did his best to charm the crowd. He announced plans to appoint a commission to study the nightclub situation and distributed the survey asking residents what time they thought clubs should close. He even suggested that the raid on his office was a good thing for the city.

"The people from the U.S. Attorney's Office are very interested in helping expand law enforcement in this community," the mayor declared. "The positive outcome is that we're having conversations with them that we may not have otherwise had. So there are silver linings to this situation."

But when he opened the floor, a line of eager and angry critics quickly formed.

"We in East St. Louis cannot afford to keep going the way things are," one middle-aged man said to scattered applause. "You [need to] shut it down at one o'clock and let people go to sleep."

Club Casino proprietor Cedric Taylor was one of the few people present to defend the clubs.

Taylor and his wife, Keisha, are known for their philanthropy. They have contributed to a number of causes — from purchasing letter jackets for East St. Louis High School's state-champion football team to buying computers and other equipment for the Brooklyn Police Department to renting a helicopter to help search for a young woman who was swept away in a flash flood last year.

Taylor pointed to his good deeds and asked that nightclubs be treated as individual entities rather than lumped together as one troubled whole.

"Don't penalize me if I'm running my business effectively and efficiently," he pleaded. "Club Casino is a way of life for me; it's a way to make a living. We been in business over 21 years. It's one of the oldest clubs in East St. Louis. We give back to the community."

Then it was back to the mayoral skewering. One woman brought up the subject of Walter Hill, Parks' erstwhile deputy liquor commissioner.

"I been told by more than a few employees and club owners," she said, "that even your own assistant comes into the business, goes behind their bar, drinks from the bottle and then asks for some type of, um, 'economic facilitation' to get their liquor license. Mr. Mayor, are you monitoring your own staff?"

After the hooting died down, Parks, clearly rattled, responded: "If you know of or you see evidence of public corruption or know of city employees unlawfully soliciting money or other unlawful activity, please contact the FBI or the U.S. Attorney's Office."

Ironically, such a call may have led to the March 19 press conference.

In November Parks appeared to bend over backward to issue a liquor license to Johnnie Blackmon, owner of two downtown nightclubs, Blackmon's Plaza and Club Illusion, for a new business called the Gentleman's Club.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
Jduchart55
Jduchart55

They racial profile over there like crazy. Every city in the u.s has clubs that stay open late. And every city has crime. You cant blame the crime in the city on the clubs. Crime is going to be there regardless. You have to have better security. They profiling people driving around and getting them on small time crimes. They dont focus on the big crimes or the real problems going on over there.

Mr. Bean
Mr. Bean

"Officer proposes setting a last call of 11 p.m. for all places that sell liquor in East St. Louis. Business owners who want to continue serving would pay a fee for each additional hour they remain open. The licenses could be priced on a sliding scale based on square footage and gross revenue."

Mr. officer do u know what's is the biggest problem in this city.

1). 95% of cars have no insurance nor a valid license plate nor a driver license, and a "BLUNT". 2). People ( young thugs ) are used to getting away with crimes easily here than anywhere else.3). City treats mom and pops store like shit. Only clubs and casino are high priority. 4). City need to create it's own towing yard. City will make more money in 3 days (club nights) than making money of liq. license fees.5). Fire that old moron from Public work job, He uses city equipment to clean (snow plowing) club parking lots.6). Start pulling over more people than what ever you are doing now. oops! i forgot everyone knows everyone. It's like a mobster family thing. 7). Start shooting more thugs, and send message.8). Try to drive by late night and see what a hell hole club brings.9). Pass new law that require more $$$$$$ for club liquor license.10). #10 is to violent to write here.11). IRS AND ATF need to "poke" these businesses more than hardworking people. 12). Streetlights are like from "IRON-AGE", criminals like to lurk in this city because it's to dark. Those street lights are like "Candle".13). Damn police station is to too far far away like fairytale. 14). City is too big to be handle by this police force.15). Nobody from out side wants to do business is here because "TIF", and because of that TAXES are like New york city. NO MORE TIF BECAUSE ONLY ARABS USE CITY MONEY OR SHOULD I SAY CITIZEN'S MONEY TO BUILD THEIR FORTUNE.16). $50,000 HOUSE PAYS TAXES EQUIVALENT TO $200,000 HOUSE IN FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS.17). EAST SAINT LOUIS NEED MORE THAN A LIQUOR STORE OR A CHURCH AT EVERY BLOCK. SO STOP GIVING AWAY THOSE LICENSES LIKE BANANA.18). CITY NEED NO BOOZE ON SUNDAY ALL DAY LAW!, THESE PEOPLE NEED TO BE SOBER FOR A DAY TO REALIZE WHAT SHIT HOLE LIFE THEY LIVE IN.19). CLUBS NEED TO RELOCATE TO NON-RESIDENCE AREA THAN THEY CAN PARTY ALL NIGHT AND ALL DAY WITHOUT DISTURBING CITY.20). LEARN FROM WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD, YOU THINK SAINT LOUIS JUNK WILL GO TO FAIRVIEW OR BELLEVILLE..NO WHY NOT BECAUSE THEY CAN'T DO SHIT THAT THEY HAVE BEEN DOING IN "EAST BOOGIE" OR SAUGET OR CAHOKIA OR CHARLY'S PARK.

mr.honesthardworkingman
mr.honesthardworkingman

"The obvious solution is that St.Louis should allow clubs to remain open until 6am. Why should all that revenue they talk about in ESTL be allowed to escape MO?"

YOU ARE RIGHT, MISSOURI SHOULD DO THAT. I WOULD BE THE HAPPIEST MAN ON FACE OF THE EARTH. EAST SAINT LOUIS CLUB WOULD BE OUT OF BUSINESS IF THAT CROWD DOESN'T CROSS THAT BRIDGE. NOBODY FROM EAST SAINT LOUIS WANTS TO GO TO THEIR CITY CLUBS ANYWAY. ONLY THING THIS CITY GOT IS THOSE ARAB WHO ARE BUILDING THEIR PALACES WITH "TIF" MONEY.

mr.honesthardworkingman
mr.honesthardworkingman

Wow, east saint louis has no shame. Mr.club casino said he gave to much back to community, i call that spare change. He makes $100k/night. He pays way way to low property taxes than a "homeless man". Mr. mayor said everyone deserve a chance to run business responsibly, like staying open 'till 6am is responsible. Only "DEVIL" and "CRIMINALS" stay out that late. Mr. mayor you need to move near a club and try to get some sleep on weekend. Most of hard working people work hard all week along to get a good rest on weekend, but thanks to clubs and crime in this city that would be impossible. This city will never see its potential with the way its doing business. IT will BE GHETTO FOR EVER. WAKE UP PEOPLE AND TAKE BACK YOUR CITY.

Kevin A.
Kevin A.

East St. Louis' problems don't stem from clubbing...just like it doesn't stem from old people dumping their social security checks into slot machines throughout the night and well into the morning.The problem is a corrupt local government...crack cocaine...meth amphetamines and the like..Forget the weed, that keeps people calm and cool. The place is a dump....and the cops suck at their job....The east side of the river is a $hit hole...it's been a shit hole since the great migration...I know that comment makes a lot of people mad...sometimes the truth hurts...

wiki
wiki

Haida and Justus are close friends with the crowd who have been buying up land on the East Side right where the new bridge is going to land when it's built. They're probably also invested in it. That's what is prompting all of this. It's not about cleaning up East St. Louis. It's about killing off the competition in East St. Louis

Neither of them cares who gets murdered, because if they did, there would have been competent investigations into,, and prosecutions of, many previous murders that have taken place either in the unincorporated county or in incidents that crossed city lines. Once, repeated calls to the Sr. Clair sheriff's department failed to get a guy picked up who was driving around with a body in the trunk of his car for several days. Since they have one of the worst dispatch systems known to mankind they may not have even know about the first few calls. Finally he crossed into Madison County, where he was arrested immediately. Remember McAllister? Anyone?

As far as the state goes, they ought to be looking into this, not closing the East St. Louis bars earlier.

timbuc4
timbuc4

Why play games

We want people to be safe without losing liberties

but life isnt exactly that perfect as it is being played out

so if the government is doing their job right, and keeping money spent to the bare minimums and busting people INSIDE CITY HALL THAT would gain RESPECT FROM THE CITIZENS

NOT THE CITIZENS who will break the law no matter what but the good people

and in turn they will back you up when you enforce commonsense laws

public drinking/drunkness zero tolerance

keeping criminals in jail whether those jails are buildings or tents KEEPING CRIMINALS IN JAIL WILL SEND THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE

We care enough ABOUT THE GOOD PEOPLE THAT WE WILL DO OUR JOB AND PROTECT YOU

And bad guys and girls your time for trouble on the streets is over

you will go to jail and stay in jail

then everything else will work itself out

people that want to dance to 6 am will do so people that want to enjoy freedom will do so

ALL OTHERS GO TO JAIL

QUIT PLAYING AROUND

Tim
Tim

The obvious solution is that St.Louis should allow clubs to remain open until 6am. Why should all that revenue they talk about in ESTL be allowed to escape MO?

 

Concert Calendar

  • April
  • Thu
    24
  • Fri
    25
  • Sat
    26
  • Sun
    27
  • Mon
    28
  • Tue
    29
  • Wed
    30
St. Louis Event Tickets
Loading...