The Velvet Rope in Oak Park and owner Frank Elliot
Chicago Suburb Worried by Arson at Gay Club

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on June 05 2012 4:02 PM ET

Whether a fire at a Chicago-area gay nightclub was motivated by antigay hatred is worrying residents of the progressive suburb where it happened.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Velvet Rope Ultra Lounge in Oak Park was struck by a fire Sunday and that officials confirm it's being investigated as arson.

The club's owner, Frank Elliot, tells the newspaper that antigay messages were left on one of the burned-out walls, and so he suspects antigay motivation.

That has members of Oak Park's gay and lesbian business association concerned about the speculation. And they have issued statements to the Chicago Phoenix and others calling on the public to wait for the investigation to end before drawing any conclusions.

Read more about the fire at the Tribune.