Three days after FBI agents raided Tony Hu's Chinatown restaurants, it's still unclear what authorities confiscated during their searches on Friday. It's business as usual today, as Lao Sze Chuan and the other restaurants in the Tony Gourmet Group served customers.
The restaurants closed briefly after FBI, IRS and Chicago police executed search warrants on Friday and Lao You Ju remained closed later than the others. Hu confirmed Lao You Ju is back open but the reasons behind the searches remained a mystery to him. No arrests or charges were filed.
"I don't know what's going on, I don't know nothing about it," Hu said today. "Maybe after I talk to my lawyer. I don't have a lawyer yet."
Agents were seen taking evidence from the restaurants. The raids were part of an ongoing investigation, FBI special agent Joan Hyde said. It's not unusual for IRS and FBI agents to work together, and Hyde added that she didn't expect any details about the investigation to be made public.
Lao Sze Chuan is the most popular of Hu's restaurants with locations in Chinatown, Uptown, Downers Grove, Evanston, Las Vegas, and Milford, Conn. There are plans for another on Michigan Avenue inside The Shops at North Bridge, but the opening has been delayed for more than a year. Neither the FBI or Hu could confirm if any other of his restaurants outside of Chinatown were raided or are part of the investigation.
However, there was a buzz around Chinatown on Friday, with workers from neighboring restaurants speculating to what brought on this visit from the FBI. Many kept that speculation to themselves in keeping with the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce's official "no comment" statement. Hu serves as vice president of the chamber.
—Ashok Selvam and Daniel Gerzina
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