The owners of the E2 nightclub in Chicago – the site of 21 deaths during a February 2003 stampede – were supposedly aware they had been ordered to close the club prior to the tragedy, according to witnesses.
Attorneys for Dwain Kyles and Calvin Hollins have argued in court that the two owners believed the order applied only to the club’s VIP area and that the majority of the nightclub could remain open.
However, a city attorney and building inspectors testified at a December 21st hearing that they recalled conversations in 2002 where each of the men acknowledged the judge’s order was to close the club, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
City attorney Demetrius Kare claimed that during an October 2002 inspection of the club, Kyles said, “Man, can’t you just let us open up? We’re losing money.” That same day, an inspector claimed Hollins told her, “What do I have to do to come into compliance to lift the order?”
The witnesses’ allegations have caused a trial delay until January 27th. According to the paper, Hollins’ attorney complained the defense had been “sandbagged” by the city because of the late introduction of the comments.
Meanwhile, Kyles has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on behalf of the nightclub. Kyles’ attorney, Ernesto Borges Jr., told the Sun-Times his client sympathizes with those who have lost loved ones and hopes his insurance company will compensate them.