Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Purple Hotel, 2008

An hour ago I drove down Lincoln Avenue to the site of the former Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood, once a Ramada, before that a Radisson, first a Hyatt.

This week the property, closed by village authorities last year because of a widespread mold infestation, figured prominently in the corruption trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko. The prosecution's key witness, Stuart Levine, discussed the many drug parties he participated in and presumably enjoyed there.

Other than it's lavender brick work, suited more for South Beach, the hotel is best known among locals as the site where former organized crime financial wizard Allen Dorfman, the man who kept a tight grip on the Teamsters Union Central States Pension Fund, enjoyed his last meal. He walked into the hotel's parking lot, and was shot to death--one of the Chicago area's most notorious mob hits.

The former inn has two parking lots, Dorman was probably shot in the lonely lot pictured on the right, next to Lincoln, since it's adjacent to the restaurant area and it offered two easy escape routes for killers.

The Purple Hotel is on a busy corner, Touhy and Lincoln, and it's just a couple of blocks east of Interstate 94. Lincolnwood officials are eager to see it torn down, and replaced by condominiums and retail development. That was the version of events a year ago, the housing bubble might slow those plans down.

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