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City orders West Town bar to put away inflatables; owner thinks it's political

West Town bar owner ordered to take down inflatable decorations, and he thinks it's political
West Town bar owner ordered to take down inflatable decorations, and he thinks it's political 02:35

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Chicago bar owner says his holiday spirit has been deflated.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported Friday night, city inspectors asked the bar to remove their annual holiday decorations from the patio—citing safety concerns. But the owner of the Irish Nobleman Pub in West Town feels like the establishment is being targeted for political reasons.

Giant inflatables normally surround the patio at the Irish Nobleman, 1367 W. Erie St. But by Friday night, the patio had been turned into more of an inflatable graveyard.

After a visit Friday afternoon from the city, the owner believes this has more to do with politics than safety.

"All over the city every knows about it," said Irish Nobleman owner Declan Morgan.

Huge holiday-themed inflatables have become a staple outside the Irish nobleman.

But this year owner, Morgan's holiday cheer is punctured after the visit from inspectors with Chicago's Department of Transportation. The inspectors told him to take down the elaborate decorations. 

"It's very petty," Morgan said. "There's a lot more problems we need solved in this city than blow-ups."

Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) declined to go on camera, but told CBS 2 that he notified CDOT about the inflatables because it appeared they were blocking sight lines for drivers.

CDOT says the inflatables violate municipal code.

Morgan: "I feel like it's retaliation."

De Mar: "You think that the alderman is retaliating?"

Morgan: "Yeah."

Morgan said he feels like the Nobleman is being targeted for holding recent fundraisers for Sam Royko and Proco "Joe" Moreno. Both are running against Ald. La Spata for the 1st Ward seat.

"Neighbors love it. The community loves it. Why is this on Alderman La Spata's desk, even?" Morgan said. "if he had a problem, he should have – or his staff should have – reached out to me directly."

Bill Cronin lives near the bar.

"It's depressing," Cronin said. "I feel like the Grinch came through."

He said the lights and inflatables also add security to the quiet neighborhood.  

"I hope the alderman can find it in his heart to turn Christmas around," Cronin said.

"It doesn't take a lot to shut a small business down," said Morgan. "Stuff like this can put us out of business."

Ald. La Spata denies the retaliation claims made by the bar owner.

As for Morgan, he's going to remove the inflatables for now to avoid a $1 ,000 fine, and will explore his options with the city. 

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