A run-in during Elgin's Nightmare on Chicago Street has further soured the relationship between two businessmen who once shared a vision for Dream Hall.
The problems between landlord Kevin Echevarria and Elgin Area Taproom owner Tyrrell Tomlin escalated Sept. 17 with an eviction lawsuit over money, then worsened Oct. 20 when Echevarria pulled a fire alarm during the Nightmare event to evacuate the Taproom after a fight outside.
Things deteriorated to the point that threats of violence were reported by Echevarria, who obtained an emergency "no contact" order in Kane County last week against Tomlin. Tomlin "absolutely" denies making any threat.
Police are investigating the threat reported by Echevarria, the fire alarm he said he pulled, and the fight outside Dream Hall, 51 S. Grove Ave., police spokeswoman Kristie Hilton said.
Echevarria said he pulled the fire alarm because he believed the situation in the building was unsafe. The Taproom was at capacity with a DJ and "a nightclub atmosphere" with people drinking throughout the building, he said. There was a fight outside, which Echevarria said he thought started inside.
He said he unsuccessfully asked the DJ to shut off the music. Police officers who responded to the fight told Echevarria he should talk to the Taproom's security, Echevarria said.
Echevarria said he decided to cut the power and pull the fire alarm at about 11:30 p.m. to evacuate the building. He also called 911 and asked police to help disperse the crowd, records show.
Tomlin said there was nothing wrong, and it was Echevarria's actions that put people at risk.
"There was enough room for everyone," he said.
Dream Hall has a "shared space" concept. The two other tenants, the owners of Legit Dogs & Ice and Cafe Revive, said they, too, were worried about the situation that night.
According to the Kane County no contact order, Echevarria reported Tomlin told him that night he would take him to the park and murder him.
"(Tomlin) is very unpredictable," Echevarria said. "We can have a very civil discussion where we leave a discussion with a handshake, but I've seen a side of him when he's unreasonable."
Tomlin said Echevarria is the unreasonable one. "Any guy in his position will make up anything because he's in hot water," he said.
Police initially reported the fire alarm was activated when smoke from an outside vendor went into the business. "The first responding officer did smell smoke," Hilton said.
Police also are investigating a Sept. 16 report involving underage drinking at the Taproom, Hilton said. Police logs for Dream Hall show officers responded to three calls for loud parties/music this year.
Echevarria filed the eviction lawsuit last month alleging Tomlin has not paid rent since the Taproom opened in May. Tomlin responded that Echevarria owes him money and is not adhering to the terms of his lease.
Echevarria said he spoke Friday with Elgin Corporation Counsel Bill Cogley regarding the Taproom, including enforcing its liquor license and hours. Cogley and city spokeswoman Molly Center didn't return a request for comment.
Tomlin said he continues to operate the Taproom.
"At the end of the day, I'm operating fully," he said. "We're not going anywhere."
Echevarria said he's committed to making Dream Hall work.
"Is this project happening with some black and blue bruises? Yes," he said. "But at the end of the day, Dream Hall is not going anywhere. We are going to make it enjoyable for families and the community."