Felony Franks settles with city of Chicago

08/01/2012 10:00 PM

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File 2011

Felony Franks, the jailhouse-themed hot dog stand formerly located at Western Avenue and Jackson Boulevard on the Near West Side, has settled its lawsuit with the city for an undisclosed amount.

The fast food joint’s owner Jim Andrews sued the city in May of 2011 after a two-year-long battle with Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) over a sign he wanted to install outside his store. Fioretti repeatedly denied Andrews, largely on grounds that the store’s name was offensive to the local community and glorified a life of crime.

Andrews said blocking the sign was a violation of his First Amendment rights, and sued the city and Fioretti. He got his sign last August, but continued the lawsuit, seeking damages because he said he had lost business by not having it above the door earlier.

Felony Franks closed down earlier this summer, citing slow business caused by loiterers down the block at a liquor store.

But Andrews continued on with the lawsuit, and last week, he said he settled with the city. He would not disclose the amount of the settlement, citing a confidentiality clause in the agreement, but said it wasn’t enough to open a new store.

“It’s not enough,” he said when asked if it was enough to open a second outpost. “But it’s over. We’re going to take it. I don’t want to drag it out any longer.”

Andrews is looking at other locations for Felony Franks, including Evanston and Cicero. The idea was recently panned at an Evanston community meeting, coincidentally held in that city’s 2nd Ward.

“When they said it was the 2nd Ward,” Andrews said. “I sat back in my chair and said, ‘This could be déjà vu all over again.’”

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