LAKE IN THE HILLS, Ill. (WLS) -- The fallout continues for a business in the far northwest suburbs, where damage still remains after the establishment was vandalized last weekend with hate messages.
Hours before UpRising Bakery and Cafe in Lake in the Hills was supposed to host a drag show, an Alsip man allegedly shattered the business' windows and left slurs printed on the walls.
"We are appalled by the senseless hate crime," Village President Ray Bogdanowski said in a statement following the incident. "The fact that the suspect had come to our Village from a town 60 miles away is also disturbing."
Now, the owner said village officials are prohibiting her from hosting any more events, including one she was forced to cancel Saturday night and another for Sunday.
The latest blow has left the owner is outraged as to why the village made the decision.
According to a letter from the village's attorney, the business center where the bakery is housed is not zoned for entertainment events, and if the owner continues to host them, it says she will face a hefty fine and possibly her business's liquor license revoked.
On Saturday evening, business at the suburban bakery showed remnants of support.
"They have, like, the best gluten-free pastries," said customer Beth Rodriguez.
"She's been through a lot and just when you thought she was past the hump, it seems to be snowballing on her," said fellow customer Craig Hack.
Their empty seats were supposed to be filled for Disney Karaoke night, but that event was abruptly canceled, as future ones are now in jeopardy, following the letter sent to owner Corinna Sac on Thursday from the Village of Lake in the Hills.
"Any and all events here need to cease immediately otherwise they were going to potentially take action against us, including fines, revocation of our business license, our liquor license," Sac said.
This, despite events that have been hosted at the establishment since the bakery opened back in November.
"So, it's just when we added something that was LGBTQ, and stuff like that, that it caused an uproar," Sac said. "I'm outraged!"
The response comes a week after her bakery was vandalized with hate messages hours before it was supposed to host a family-friendly drag show.
"The only thing I could do was cry. I just looked around at everything and cried," Sac said.
For now, she's forced to cancel all of her upcoming events but said her fight with the village is only beginning.
"We are working with our attorneys," she said. "So, hopefully with their guidance, their help, and support, we can find a path forward."
The Village of Lake in the Hills released a statement that said:
"The Village of Lake in the Hills has been made aware of a social media video shared today by Corrina Sac, owner of Uprising Bakery, claiming there has been a conspiracy to interfere with her business. This issue is about a business conducting activities it was never permitted to conduct. While the potential revenue from these entertainment events may be attractive to the business owner, the Village is seeking compliance with its zoning regulations.
The Village was made aware of a planned entertainment event scheduled for July 23, 2022, at Uprising Bakery after it had been advertised and received strong negative criticism. The Village's focus was on coordinating the resources necessary to ensure the safety of the business, its neighbors, and the community, while also preserving the Constitutional rights of the participants.
In her prior video message thanking the Village for their support, Ms. Sac acknowledged the protection she received from the Lake in the Hills Police Department. "Helping us with protection at home, protecting the community from things happening here, protecting my fellow businesses..." Ms. Sac said, "They've been working so hard to maintain neutrality and doing everything that they're supposed to do the right way, while also being so incredibly kind and compassionate to us and it just means a lot."
While this Village has a proud history of supporting our local business community, we also have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all our residents. As such, the Village provided the resources necessary to protect the business, as well as those planning to participate in protests and counter-protests of the event. Access was restricted to the Cedar Ridge Plaza parking lot, portions of Oakleaf Drive were closed and communications were sent to both the adjacent businesses and neighboring residents. The resources utilized were substantial and involved support from regional agencies.
The Village requested a meeting with Ms. Sac last week to gain a better understanding of the changes to her business, as it is now offering continued paid entertainment events. At that time, the Village also shared complaints that have been received by the property owner and tenants of Cedar Ridge Plaza, as well as nearby residences. The complaints included loss of business, parking, safety concerns, and zoning violations.
Ms. Sac stated she now sees the potential revenue from these entertainment events as being essential to her business. She was clear that her intent was to continue offering entertainment on a more frequent and extended basis. Her acknowledgement of this change to her business model, has required the Village to consider the zoning concerns, as the operation of an entertainment business is not a permitted use at that location. Cedar Ridge Plaza is zoned B-2, Neighborhood Convenience Business District, which is defined as follows:
The B-2 District is established to meet the needs of the immediate neighborhood. It is intended to provide convenience shopping for persons living in adjacent residential areas. Permitted uses shall be those that are appropriate to satisfy basic shopping needs which occur on a frequent or daily basis.
This zoning designation prohibits entertainment in large part due to the close proximity to residential neighborhoods and shared tenant parking.
The Village attempted to contact Ms. Sac through her attorney to confirm her intent to voluntarily comply with the zoning, which would allow her business to continue, but without reliance on an entertainment component. Unfortunately, after receiving no response, the Village issued a letter requesting compliance.
The Village seeks to administer zoning ordinances and policies in a fair, efficient, and professional manner in order to promote and safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of the Lake in the Hills community. We are committed to taking a proactive approach in working with our businesses, citizens, and other agencies."