One of the landmarks in the history of Illinois political corruption is being demolished. The Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood, which was a Hyatt when it opened in 1960, was where state fraudster-turned-informant Stuart Levine had drug and sex parties a decade ago. This is according to Levine’s testimony at the trials of political insiders Tony Rezko and William Cellini.
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Mayor Gerald Turry says Levine’s testimony was a surprise to him. “We couldn’t believe it. How could this be? I checked with our police chief and the force and they said well, there were some tawdry people that would come here, and he could have been one of ‘em, we can’t deny it, but we were surprised and shocked and as residents, we felt that we were diminished again. It hurt,” he said. The Purple Hotel, which was a Hyatt, a Radisson and a Ramada as well as simply the Purple Hotel during its 47 years in business, is also where mobster Allen Dorfman was gunned down in the parking lot in 1983. That murder was never solved.
The hotel was constructed of purple bricks, which were a mistake by the brick manufacturer, but turned out to make the building distinctive. Through the 1980s, the property was a reputable establishment where many area residents had weddings, proms, bar mitzvahs and other events, though it deteriorated in the 1990s and was finally closed by the city in 2007. The wrecking ball began swinging today (Tuesday). A redevelopment, including a new hotel, is planned for the site.