JOLIET – The owner of Mojoes of Joliet has pleaded guilty to having too many people in the club and said he wants to move to a larger space.
The charges against Mojoes stem from an April 11 show in which police said 171 people were counted as they waited in line to get into the downtown club, which was already full.
The matter was heard at a Liquor Commission hearing Wednesday, one of two held by the commission.
Also Wednesday, the owners of Los Diaz Bar & Liquors pleaded guilty to allowing liquor to be taken outside in an open container on April 12, a night when a 19-year-old man was shot twice during a brawl at the bar.
Mayor Bob O'Dekirk, also the liquor commissioner, said he expects to make a decision on penalties by the end of the week.
Owner Chris Triebes said he wants to find a new location and double the capacity he has at the club at 22 W. Cass St.
The club has a capacity for 500, and Triebes said, "I'd like to hit at least a thousand."
Mojoes is an all-ages club designed to serve alcohol on one floor, separated from another floor where no alcohol is to be served.
Triebes also pleaded guilty to allowing minors in an area where alcohol was served on April 11.
John Wise, the city attorney handling the case, said alcohol was served on both the club's floors, although there was no evidence minors were served.
The club often draws large crowds for bands. The April 11 show featured two popular bands, Exodus and Testament, and was oversold.
Triebes said he refunded anyone who bought a ticket and could not get in. Now he wants to find a bigger venue, preferably staying in downtown Joliet.
"I can do this anywhere," Triebes said after the hearing. "I prefer to do this in Joliet."
His attorney, James Capparelli, acknowledged at the hearing that the club has had "issues in the past."
"We will take steps to rectify the overcrowding situation," Capparelli said. "We want to accommodate the large crowds that are now coming to this venue."
An attorney for Los Diaz Bar and Liquors, 674 Meeker Ave., said that establishment also has taken action to prevent the problem that led to charges from the Liquor Commission.
"There are people who removed alcohol from the premises. We failed to prevent that from happening," attorney Chris Rouskey said.
He said the bar now has someone checking the area outside to make sure no one is taking open liquor from the building.
A man was shot in the head and torso at the bar on the night of the violation.
Anthony Luna, 26, of Aurora, was arrested and accused in the shooting. Eight other people were arrested for aggravated battery and mob action.