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updated: 11/7/2011 5:41 PM

Evicted man charged with damaging $1 million home in Campton Hills

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  • Peter Mazzara

      Peter Mazzara

  • A man has been charged with the theft of countertops, appliances and fixtures from this home in Campton Hills.

       A man has been charged with the theft of countertops, appliances and fixtures from this home in Campton Hills.
    Steve Berczynski | Staff Photographer

 
 

A man has been accused of stealing several fixtures, including the kitchen sinks, from a $1 million house in Campton Hills.

However, it is not a simple case of construction site theft or even looting a vacant house.

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Peter Mazzara, 33, is accused of stealing items from the house from which he was being evicted -- and then returning two days later to take more stuff.

He faces felony charges of criminal damage to property and theft of items, both with a range of $10,000 to $100,000.

And Kane, Lake, Cook and DuPage court records indicate this is far from the first time Mazzara has faced civil or criminal charges related to how he handles money and real estate.

The current case

According to a Campton Hills police report, on Oct. 14 and 16 Mazzara took property out of 3N661 James Fenimore Cooper Lane in the Fox Mill subdivision.

Items stolen include a bathroom vanity; a bathroom light fixture; three bathroom ceiling lights; three bathroom towel racks; two toilet-paper holders; two bathroom sinks and their faucets; four vanity mirrors; vanity lights; two dining-room light fixtures; two chandeliers; carpeting from six rooms; granite kitchen countertops; three kitchen light fixtures; kitchen cabinets; the refrigerator; two kitchen sinks with dual faucets; a washing machine; a dryer; Corian countertops in the laundry room; a laundry-room sink and faucet; five ceiling fans; wood wall coverings from the basement; trim; cabinets from the basement; and Bose stereo speakers.

On Oct. 17, 2010, Todd and Lisa Gibson sold the house to Mazzara, using an "agreement for warranty deed," according to Kane County court records. Mazzara put $30,000 down, and was supposed to pay the $100,000 remainder of the down payment by April 1. He also was to make $7,751 monthly mortgage payments, and to pay off the whole loan by Oct. 31, 2015.

In February 2011, the Gibsons filed an arbitration action in Kane County court, saying Mazzara failed to make his December monthly payment by the first of the month as agreed, and that when he did eventually pay the check was returned for insufficient funds. They also alleged he failed to make his January payment.

The action was dismissed in May, because the Gibsons did not notify Mazzara properly of the suit. Mazzara also argued they had no standing to sue him, because the bank holding the Gibsons' mortgage had in the meantime filed for foreclosure on the house.

The Gibsons have moved to Durango, Colo., according to Kane County court records, but could not be reached for comment on this story. Email and telephone messages also have been sent to Mazzara, but he has not responded.

In August, the Gibsons sued to evict Mazzara and have the house returned to them. They sought $108,597 for payments, court costs, reimbursement for a $13,836 mechanic's lien and $15,000 for damage to a mechanical pool cover and attorney fees. In September, a judge agreed, and ordered Mazzara to move out by Oct. 15.

On Oct. 14, Todd Gibson called Campton Hills police to complain about Mazzara removing things from the house. While investigating this, police discovered Mazzara was wanted on a criminal warrant out of Lake County and arrested him. According to the police report, Mazzara told them he was aware of the eviction order, "but felt he was entitled to remove property as he owned the house."

Mazzara posted bond on the Lake County warrant. Then, according to Campton Hills police, he returned Oct. 16 and removed more items with the help of movers. The movers told police they were instructed to "pick up and take from the house whatever and as much as they could" and take it to a storage locker in Skokie, according to the report. Police say Mazzara told them he didn't take anything that wasn't his.

On Oct. 19 the felony theft charges were authorized and an arrest warrant was issued. Mazzara was arrested at an Oct. 27 court appearance on his Lake County case and posted bond immediately.

Money and Mazzara

The Gibsons join a line of people and businesses who have had legal bones to pick with Mazzara.

• A Lake County prosecutor is asking to revoke Mazzara's probation from a 2008 theft case, for failure to pay court fees. He pleaded guilty in 2008 of charges he stole from an elderly Gurnee woman. She had given him $50,000 to invest, but investigators found instead he deposited it in the bank account of his wife's Spiced Tan tanning business in Chicago. Mazzara was ordered to repay $34,324, spend 180 days in jail, serve 36 months of probation and perform 200 hours of community service.

• The state of Illinois suspended his securities agent registration in 2006.

• In Cook County, the state attorney general won a $698 judgment against him, his wife and the tanning business (2007); an Ignacio Maartorina won a judgment and order of possession of $37,170 against the Mazzaras and Spiced Tan (2005); Lexus Financial SE won a judgment of $32,800 (2003); and Diversified Financial won a judgment of $2,445 (2003).

• In Kane County, he was sued for eviction and back rent for a house at 39W758 Walt Whitman Road, also in the Fox Mill subdivision (2010); and for eviction from an office in St. Charles over unpaid rent and utilities (2007).

• In DuPage County, Mazzara was sued by a residential steel fabricator. He also was named, along with his wife, in a foreclosure action. Both were in 2008. In 2006, Wells Fargo Bank sued the Mazzaras, and in 2007 Pella Windows and Doors filed an arbitration suit and the Village of Clarendon Hills charged Peter Mazzara with several ordinance violations.

Mazzara is due to appear in Kane and Lake County courts Nov. 16.

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