Highland Park, News

Highland Park Councilmember Jeff Hoobler says he will resign amid liquor-license controversy

Jeff Hoobler announced on social media Monday that he plans to resign from the Highland Park City Council in April.

The first-term official’s status on the council came into question earlier this year when the city began reviewing its liquor license code. The city’s code restricts councilmembers from holding liquor licenses, and Hoobler is the co-owner of Ravinia Brewing Company.

In his resignation letter, which he posted to Facebook, Hoobler says he spoke with an agent with the Illinois Liquor Control Commission on Feb. 29 and has since been a leave of absence from the council that will last until his resignation date of April 30. In the post, Hoobler says advice from his attorneys prompted his resignation.

“When I decided to run for the City Council of Highland Park, I did so because I wanted change in Highland Park and I wanted to make Highland Park a better place to live,” he says in the post. “Thanks to all of you, I went from a newbie in local politics to the top vote getter in the election. I have worked hard over the last year to lay the groundwork for the change I campaigned for. It has been an honor to serve the voters of Highland Park, and I will continue to fight to make our city the gem of the Northshore as it once was.”

Jeff Hoobler’s resignation letter

Hoobler was elected to the City Council in 2023 with 21.84 percent of the vote, the highest vote total among the five-person field.

The city reportedly was made aware of the potential conflict following the council’s January committee of the whole session during which officials, including Hoobler, discussed Highland Park’s liquor code, according to previous Record reporting.

Following a review of the City code, officials discovered that Highland Park had a Prohibition-era law on the books restricting councilmembers from holding liquor licenses, and the issue was placed on a City Council agenda for discussion in February.

During that meeting, Councilmember Annette Lidawer proposed a motion to get rid of the clause, but Mayor Nancy Rotering and Councilmembers Tony Blumberg and Kim Stone voted against the measure and it failed.

The proposed change would have allowed Hoobler to hold a license and remain on the council.

Since the council’s decision, Hoobler has criticized the mayor and other officials for their actions related to the liquor code, including declining to change the law and neglecting to recognize the law when he was seated on the council in 2023.

City officials declined to comment.

In his resignation letter, Hoobler said he expects upcoming City Council meetings will address council ethics, including recusals and conflicts of interest, and the council may in April take another vote to amend the liquor-license code. Hoobler’s resignation would go into effective following that meeting.

City Council meetings are scheduled for April 10 and April 24.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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