Cubs accuse alderman of protecting profits of local bar owners

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The Cubs are winning big on the field, but may be running into a roadblock at city hall.

The team is battling 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney over plans to sell liquor in the new plaza next to the ballpark that will open in 2017.

As FOX 32’s Dane Placko reports, the Cubs are accusing the alderman of protecting the profits of local bar owners.

A sunny afternoon outside Wrigley Field and the suds are flowing. But a battle is brewing over who pours those beers and gets the millions of dollars in revenue.

"We were assured that we would be able to generate revenue in support of this project,” said Cubs spokesperson Julian Green.

Green says the club is bypassing city hall and has filed an outdoor patio license application with the city's liquor control commission to sell beer and wine in the large plaza under construction on cubs property just to the west of the ballpark.
The Cubs say they're playing by the rules that were set in this 2013 ordinance that was introduced to the city council but not passed. That agreement would allow the Cubs to sell booze in the plaza right after the game ends and until eleven at night, and on days when the Cubs are on the road.

The Cubs say they're not asking for anything more than what other restaurants and bars in the neighborhood are getting.

"This is a double standard. What the alderman is trying to seek is an un-level playing field,” Green said.

"The largest patio license in the city of Chicago I believe is 200 to 250. So this would be unprecedented. So that's not a level playing field,” Alderman Tunney said.

The alderman is proposing no alcohol sales in the plaza until an hour after the game ends, and a closing time of 9 p.m. He says it's about public safety and protecting the neighborhood.

The Cubs say the alderman is protecting something else.

"We're of the belief this is about protecting the profits of a few select bar owners over other businesses, which is ours,” Green said.

FOX 32: The Cubs are essentially accusing you of being in the pocket of the bar owners around Wrigley Field.

"Well I’ve said this before, I'm in the pockets of my residents that live around here, the neighboring businesses and the Cubs,” Tunney said.

Not surprisingly, most of the fans FOX 32 talked to side with the Cubs.

“Let them open it up. Let everyone have fun. Why let these bars make all the money? Why not let the Cubs make a little too?" one fan said.