By Georgia Garvey, @gcgarvey
11:39 AM CST, November 5, 2012
Circuit nightclub, a Boystown mainstay for 15 years, has closed and its outlook for reopening is uncertain.
Owner Michael Macharello said the club was closed by the landlord after years of arrears in rent.
"Just getting through this economy and surviving it has been difficult," he said.
But the landlord for the property, Frank Friedman of Sterling Properties, said Macharello is not the leaseholder and that the club's closing resulted from Macharello permanently removing the liquor license from the property.
"He triggered the closure of Circuit by taking the liquor license off the wall," Friedman said, noting that a nightclub cannot operate without a liquor license.
Macharello said he has brought business licenses home from the club to protect them and himself.
"I took my licenses out of the business every night," he said. "I wanted to make sure that nothing happened to them."
Co-owner Patrick Harms reportedly told ChicagoPride.com that the licenses were removed after a "serious disagreement over administrative and operational concerns" between he and Macharello.
Macharello posted to the club's web site and Facebook page on Friday an announcement of a temporary closure, saying he was renegotiating the lease.
He also said raising rents had forced him to close, something Friedman strongly denied.
"The bottom line is, we did not raise the rent," he said. "We did not put him out of business."
On Monday, messages on the web sites of Circuit and Boi magazine, which Macharello also runs, had statements appearing to show at least some of Macharello's assets were no longer under his control.
The Circuit site read: "As a matter of public notice: As of November 1, 2012 all assets of Michael Macharello d/b/a Circuit Nightclub have been seized by first position debt holders."
The notice on Boi's web site was: "Effective November 1, 2012, Boi magazine is no longer under the control of Michael A. Macharello. Further information will be posted as it becomes available."
Macharello said some time ago, he took out a loan to continue his business, signing over assets as collateral, and may have unintentionally handed over ownership of Boi magazine.
"I may have inadvertently signed over that as one of my assets," to the person who loaned him the money, he said.
The property where Circuit is located, 3641 N. Halsted St., was listed last month for lease on a commercial real estate site for $13,000 a month.
Macharello said he has tried to get in touch with the landlord and those to whom he owes money to work out terms for repayment but has so far been unsuccessful.
"I'm trying to fix it," he said. "I'm planning to pay people back."
Macharello said he plans to continue Mike at Night promotions, and will put updates on the status of Circuit at a new web site, circuitnightclubchicago.com.
For his part, the landlord said Macharello is not his tenant and that the nightclub closure had nothing to do with Friedman.
"We're sorry for the community. We're sorry for Circuit," Friedman said. "It's just been an unmitigated disaster for everyone."
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