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Although co-owners Calvin Hollins, Jr. and Dwain Kyles have been now twice cleared of any wrongdoing, the city still tries to make a case against them. In 2007, the prosecution wasn’t able to prove that the men had acted recklessly and they were acquitted. And although they were both found guilty in 2009 of disobeying a city housing court order stating the second floor should not be occupied—leading to a two-year prison sentence—an appellate court later overturned the decision. The case is now being brought to the Illinois Supreme Court.
There are also more than a dozen lawsuits and criminal charges that have yet to be solved, which aggravates the grieving families, according to this article from the Chicago Tribune.
On February 17, about 20 family members of the victims gathered outside the vacant building to pay their respects. Alongside the 21 white crosses that mark the scene, the gatherers placed candy, roses, stuffed animals, and pictures. Each mourner was also given a pink, blue, or yellow balloon, on which was either written “21” or “1” and “0” to represent the 21 lives lost or the 10 years that have passed.
Around 2:25 a.m. on February 17, 2003, fights broke out on the club’s second floor, causing chaos. When security broke up the fights with pepper spray, the masses fled towards the stairwells, causing stampedes and the ultimate deaths of the 21 victims. Expert witnesses later testified that there weren’t enough exits for the size of the crowd—nearly 1,150 people. The second floor should have had a max occupancy of 240 people.
If you’ve suffered injuries from any incident, negligent or otherwise, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our experienced law firm in DuPage County today to learn more.