Cook County prosecutors are investigating the Parlor Pizza Bar’s tax payments. Last month, authorities issued a subpoena for cases related to the trendy restaurant chain’s payment of restaurant taxes in the city.
A grand jury subpoena dated May 13 shows the city’s Department of Finance tax division was required to produce “records, documents, mode and method of payment, including bank accounts from from which payments were made” regarding Parlor’s payment of the city’s restaurant tax. The Chicago Restaurant Tax is remitted to the Department of Finance.
The subpoena required the department to include a monthly sales schedule for each year submitted by each location “for each year the businesses operated in the City of Chicago.” The document was obtained by the Tribune via a Freedom of Information Act request.
Representatives for the restaurant did not respond to request for comment.
“The Department of Finance has complied with Cook County’s subpoena for records relating to Parlor Pizza,” department spokeswoman Rose Tibayan said in a statement Thursday.
The subpoena marks the latest development in a series of issues for Parlor, which has also been investigated by the city for alleged sexual harassment, discrimination and labor violations.
In November, the Chicago Department of Business and Consumer Protection and Human Relations Commission said they were conducting a “thorough investigation into allegations that workers were not being paid overtime, that employees were sexually harassed and that customers were discriminated against on the basis of their race and/or age.Parlor strongly denied the allegations at the time.
This investigation came after Block Club Chicago reported allegations from former Parlor employees who said customers of color were seated in less visible or desirable parts of the restaurant that some employees dubbed “rejection sections.” Former Parlor employees also accused the pizza chain of harassment and unpaid overtime in comments to Block Club.
In October, police raided the Parlor Pizza Bar restaurants and said they were helping the Illinois Department of Revenue. At the time, the Revenue Department said it could not comment on ongoing investigations or acknowledge their existence, a statement reiterated Wednesday by department spokeswoman Maura Kownacki.
The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection “continues to gather evidence and negotiate with attorneys representing Parlor Pizza to reach an agreed course of conduct,” department spokeswoman Elisa Sledzinska said in a statement Wednesday. “The BACP is working diligently to reach an agreement and bring justice to the workers at the settlement.”
Sledzinska declined to comment further on the investigation.
Kenneth Gunn, first deputy commissioner of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, said the commission did not receive any complaints from the public after appealing last fall to potential victims, but conducted its own tests. , which revealed no discrimination. Gunn said the agency conducted its own discrimination test sending people of different races to the restaurant, but found no discrimination.
Parlor had been the subject of complaints before last year. In 2015 and 2017, he settled two separate lawsuits from former employees alleging unpaid overtime. And in 2016, a man filed a discrimination complaint with the Chicago Human Relations Commission after he said he and his wife were denied access to the West Loop restaurant. Parlor last year provided a notice from the commission saying the discrimination complaint was dismissed after the man failed to take steps to proceed with a hearing or seek an extension.
Parlor Pizza Bar has locations in West Town, Wicker Park and the Near North neighborhood.
Megan Crepeau of the Chicago Tribune contributed.