An Illinois bakery has accused its local government of discriminating against it by banning events at the space after it was vandalized and had to cancel a planned drag show, but the village disputes the bakery’s version of events.
Owner Corinna Sac posted a video on Facebook lamenting that the village of Lake in the Hills, Ill., told her to cancel all future events at the UpRising Bakery and Cafe after a “Drag Brunch” had been postponed. She claimed that the village’s actions felt like “discrimination and a conspiracy to interfere with my business,” but the village now insists this is not the case.
“Standing with our community and businesses, the Village demonstrated unwavering support to UpRising Bakery and Cafe, staying alongside the business to fight against hate in every way possible,” a statement from the village said. “It is disheartening that our actions are now being portrayed in a different light.”
Sac had acknowledged that village officials initially supported her after her bakery was vandalized last month, but claimed they made a sudden about-face when they told her she could no longer hold events. She said the village cited zoning issues that she said had never been raised before and had warned that any future events would be violations of municipal code and zoning ordinances, resulting in enforcement actions that could include fines and losing business or liquor licenses.
“We’ve been holding events pretty much since the day that we’ve opened,” she said. “We have always made them safe, family-friendly, and available to everyone in the community. It is essential for UpRising to host these events. It is what bridges the gap in our daily sales to ensure that we can pay our rent, pay our taxes, and pay our employees.”
Despite that, the village claimed that UpRising’s operations had changed over time.
“The Village learned that the business model for the bakery and café has fundamentally changed, requiring the Village to address zoning concerns. The change is not in the type of entertainment being offered, but in the offering of regular and extended entertainment events as an ongoing part of the business,” they said.
Sac disputes this.
“The only thing that has fundamentally changed is the village’s own interpretation of their ordinances and appetite to support local business and lgbtq community members and Allys,” Sac said in a statement to Fox News. “We’ve had dozens of community-driven events since we’ve opened, all without incident, previously approved by the village trustees. We opened this location as a safe and welcoming space for all. The village conveniently now leaves us feeling disappointed, let down, and disadvantaged. We grateful [sic] for the support we have received from the local community members.”
Despite the supposed zoning issues the village cited, the village said in a response to an ACLU attorney working with the bakery that others would be allowed to go on.
“The Village’s position is that there are likely some activities that can continue to be conducted at UpRising Bakery and Care, subject to certain parameters, in compliance with its zoning,” they said. The letter also noted that while Sac indicated that she had to cancel a resume writing workshop because of the village’s demands, the village “never requested” this.
The ACLU attorney’s letter had claimed that prohibiting the bakery from holding their events is discrimination and that enforcing any penalties would be retaliation against the exercise of First Amendment rights.