Arson ruled in Velvet Rope fire
Derogatory comments found inside club shuttered by arson fire
by GoPride.com News Staff
OAK PARK, IL -- The fire that destroyed the Velvet Rope Ultra Lounge in Oak Park has been ruled an arson.
Fire destroys Velvet Rope in Oak Park credit :: casey cora/oak park patch
An early Sunday morning fire destroyed the gay club at 728 Lake St. The bar was closed at the time and no one was injured.
The club's owner Frank Elliot, 25, told ChicagoPride.com that derogatory comments were found; however, he was unaware what was written because Oak Park police removed them before he was allowed into the building.
Oak Park Fire Department officials Thursday ruled the fire was the result of arson.
"It's been concluded by investigators that probable cause indicates arson," said Oak Park Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Kenneth Klemm told the Chicago Tribune. "Police are now taking the lead on the investigation."
Authorities have not said whether they believe the business was targeted because it was a gay nightclub and Oak Park Police would not confirm whether graffiti found on the scene was anti-gay in nature.
No one is in custody and police continue to investigate.
Elliot told ChicagoPride.com that he hopes to rebuild, but said he and his staff remained focused on the opening of another club in Boystown. The Bonsai Bar & Lounge will be located at 3503 N. Halsted in the former Leather Sport space.