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Article updated: 6/22/2012 4:23 PM

St. Charles man a no-show for sentencing in home project case

Clifford McIlvaine

Clifford McIlvaine

 
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A St. Charles man who recently was found in contempt of court for not following a schedule to complete a home construction project that has lingered since the 1970s, was a no-show in court Friday for his sentencing hearing.

A judge has given Clifford McIlvaine one last chance to show up on July 6 before an arrest warrant is issued.

Friday was just the latest entry in a saga that began in 1975 when McIlvaine was granted a permit for an addition to his home in the 600 block of Prairie Street.

The city of St. Charles sued in late 2010, saying McIlvaine had not allowed the city to inspect the work for decades and that it was a public safety issue.

The two sides reached an agreement to have work done by Sept. 29, 2012, but McIlvaine missed numerous construction deadlines and was found to be in contempt of court last month.

Friday he was due before Judge Thomas Mueller for sentencing. Instead of issuing an arrest warrant for McIlvaine, who said in court filings he was suffering from a kidney stone attack, the judge ordered him to come to court in two weeks.

Mueller said McIlvaine has followed his "own marching orders" and was skeptical that throwing him in jail would help get the project completed, which city attorneys have maintained is their primary concern.

"I don't know if (a carrot and stick approach) is effective with Mr. McIlvaine because he quite honestly has not shown much respect for the court," Mueller said."I really do need to have a face-to-face with him about his plan for meeting the timetable before I impose a sentence."

Phil Luetkehans, an attorney for the city, said McIlvaine could be on the hook for more than $50,000 in fines under city codes. He suggested the judge issue some type of fine, but allow the fine to be forgiven if McIlvaine finishes the project on time.

Luetkehans said the city was not seeking jail time but just wanted the project to be done.

"We are as frustrated as anyone," he said. "If he doesn't take the court's order (for July 6) seriously, we will seek a warrant. I do believe he's been sick. I don't believe he's so sick he couldn't come today."

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