The owners of the nightclub at 302 West State St., Nicholas Mercadante of Aurora and Michael Anthony Knuth of Aurora and Montgomery, admitted to the violation, cited their charitable efforts, the "enormous investment" they had made as a business and promised a similar violation would not happen again.
The business was called on the carpet after being charged with serving alcohol to a group of people including several celebrities who had attended Jenny McCarthy's Dancing With the Stars benefit held Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Hotel Baker in St. Charles. The gala was held to raise funds for Bridges Montessori Academy, which McCarthy's son attends.
Jenny McCarthy's sister and a handful of celebrities were cited for public drunkenness on Aug. 25, and EvenFlow was cited for staying open from 2 a.m. to 5:45 a.m. to accommodate the after-hours party.
The business' liquor license was suspended from midnight to 2 a.m. Oct. 1 through Oct. 15, and from Sundays through Thursdays Oct. 16 through Oct. 31. The license was suspended from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights between Oct. 16 and 31.
Standard closing time for drinking establishments in Geneva is 2 a.m.
EvenFlow's attorney acknowledged the young entrepreneurs had made a "poor business decision that has and will cost them and their business substantially." He also said he had been young once and acknowledged that the owners might have been smitten by the prospect of rubbing elbows with celebrity clientele.
"Was it excusable? No, of course not. (But) I think I can understand how that poor business decision was made," he said.
Burns was respectful but firm, acknowledging the positives of the business contributions but indicating the liquor license rules cannot be broken—for celebrities or anyone else.
"I don’t care if it’s Jesus Christ and his disciples. They have to take their wine elsewhere," he said.
An attorney representing the liquor commissioner said that, "should this pattern continue, it could be our intention to revoke the license."
"This will be the last time we see each other in this setting," Burns said, adding that he hopes "this closes a chapter I trust both of us would never want to see happen again."
The celebrities cited in Geneva included Kelly Monaco, a model, actress, reality television contestant and winner of Dancing with the Stars in Season 1, Sergey Onik, a U.S. National Dance champion, personal instructor to Kirstie Alley and Official 100 Days of Dance director, Joanne McCarthy, Jenny's sister and a movie and television makeup artist, and Heath Freeman, an actor, writer and producer, according to IMDB.com.
Also cited were Alexis Gault of Geneva, identified as a server at EvenFlow, and Michael Isaacson of Geneva.
- That the establishment was open for a party between 2 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. in violation of Section 4-2-14:A of Title 4 of the Geneva City Code.
- That during the same time period, EvenFlow "sold, furnished gave away or permitted consumption of alcoholic liquors on the licensed premises," also in violation of the Section 4-2-14:A of Title 4 of the Geneva City Code.
- That EvenFlow or its employees served or dispensed liquor, in violation of Section 4-2-25:O(1) of Title 4 of the Geneva City Code.
- That the business was kept open, in violation of Section 4-2-25:O(1) of Title 4 of the Geneva City Code.
- That people were allowed to remain in the premises during that time period, in violation of Section 4-2-25:O(1) of Title 4 of the Geneva City Code.
- That EvenFlow served alcohol after hours, in violation of Section 4-2-25:O(1) of Title 4 of the Geneva City Code.
- And that EvenFlow served alcohol after hours, in violation of Section 4-2-25:O(3) of Title 4 of the Geneva City Code.