JOLIET – The owner of Mojoes of Joliet no longer wants to be in the city after facing several charges of overcrowding he thinks were inappropriate.
Chris Triebes, 31, of Wheaton, said he decided to find another person to take on the remainder of the lease for the downtown nightclub after receiving two overcrowding charges from city officials in May that he didn’t “feel are legitimate.”
“I know I’m being watched like a hawk [by Joliet police]. I’m not stupid enough to sell an extra 50 tickets while they are spying on me across the street,” Triebes said.
Triebes pleaded guilty to the first charge of overcrowding for an April 11 show. He said he thought about finding a larger venue, but after the past two charges, he was no longer interested in running the nightclub in Joliet.
Triebes said he’s told people, “I will never do business in that city again.”
Triebes, who has run Mojoes for more than four years, said he’s had 20 people ask him about running Mojoes and he’s narrowed the pool of potential owners to two to three candidates. He declined to reveal who they are, but he said they also are club owners.
In recent weeks, city officials issued Mojoes a citation that included a charge that the club exceeded its maximum occupancy both May 17 and May 6. The club’s liquor license will be suspended for three days in June because of an April 11 overcrowding incident.
The capacity of the club is 500, officials have said.
Triebes said he’s spoken with Mayor Bob O’Dekirk, who’s been relativity supportive of Mojoes. He said he can’t blame O’Dekirk for doing his job, but he believes he will continue to receive more citations from the city.
O’Dekirk on Tuesday said he spoke with Triebes on the phone Friday, saying Triebes was “kind of despondent over the latest charges and was not sure if he was going to keep going.”
He said during his conversation with Triebes the owner told him he had a falling out with a business partner who was supposed to be running the club. Triebes was to be a promoter. He said Triebes didn’t indicate his problems with the citations issued to his club during that talk.
Although the city was charging Mojoes with overcrowding, O’Dekirk said Wednesday that city officials advised him on structural changes to the club, such as knocking down walls for more space, he said.
“Obviously, I kind of inherited this problem …” O’Dekirk said. “But I do know our staff worked with him and advised him on ways he could get capacity.”
• Herald-News Senior Reporter Bob Okon contributed to this report.