January 9, 2010 by USA Post
Illinois Lottery,Aldermen Monday night narrowly voted to allow a local woman to expand her small coffee and donut business inside the downtown Des Plaines train station by permitting the installation of an Illinois Lottery machine.
In addition, Rita Shah, owner of the small business, will be allowed to increase the number of items she sells to include prepackaged sandwiches and other food items.
Mrs. Shah, a Des Plaines resident, had obtained the approval of the Illinois Lottery Agency to install a machine for the sale of instant online tickets.
According to Mayor Marty Moylan, the Lottery was prepared to install the machine last week, but could not do so because terms of the city’s lease with Shah do not include the machine.
In addition, the 10-year lease city officials agreed to last year, limits the number of types of items that can be sold in the depot, which is owned by the city.
Mrs. Shah and the city signed the long-term lease last year at a beginning rate of $230 per month with increases every year.
At Monday night’s city council meeting, aldermen Jean Higgason (4th) and Dan Wilson (7th) expressed concerns about the proposal.
“I have no problem with food, but does she know if she can make any revenue?” said Higgason referring to the Lottery machine.
“She’s received the Lottery’s OK,” responded Assistant City Attorney Ray Bartel.
“That’s between the Lottery and Mrs. Shah,” added Ald. John Robinson (2d).
A few moments later, Ald. Wilson said he believes that if a Lottery machine is allowed inside the station it will become phenomenally profitable. He also said the $230 per month rent is very favorable to the tenant and that the city should re-bid the agreement to allow only one-year leases. Mrs. Shah was able to secure the lease through the city’s competitive bidding process.
“If you do a one year lease it’s like you’re asking for something to fail,” said Ald. Mark Walsten (6th) who added that he favors granting Shah’s request. “I’d like her to succeed,” he said.
Walsten also stated that he could support a four-year lease, not the one year Wilson proposed. Ald. Rosemary Argus (8th) suggested a minimum two-year lease.
“It’s almost like we’re afraid she’ll succeed,” added Ald. Jim Brookman (5th) in response to Wilson’s one-year proposal. Later, Higgason said she’s concerned other nearby companies that have Lottery machines might lose business to Mrs. Shah.
Aldermen rejected a motion to send the entire matter back to committee for further review and discussion. Wilson’s suggestion to delay a vote until the time when Ald. Patti Haugeberg is in attendance was also rejected.
The train station is located in Haugeberg’s ward. She was not in attendance at Monday’s meeting.
In the end, council members voted 4 to 3 to allow Mrs. Shah to install a Lottery machine and to sell the additional food items.
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