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updated: 8/14/2012 3:33 PM

E. Dundee president threatens to de-annex warring neighbors

E. Dundee village president threatens to de-annex warring neighbors

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East Dundee Village President Jerald Bartels is so fed up with a pair of warring neighbors and their wives that he's ready to kick them all out of town and let Kane County deal with them.

Ex-Village President Dan O'Leary and his wife, Julie, are engaged in a dispute with their next door neighbors Patrick Clarke, who ran for trustee last year, and his wife, Allison.

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They have spent four years arguing over various property issues that sometimes have involved police and come as a result of them no longer being friends. The O'Learys are presently suing the Clarkes, and the Clarkes have a lawsuit pending against East Dundee.

The neighbors' latest salvo, discussed at Monday night's village board meeting, involves nearly 16,000 square feet of village property on Lake Shore Drive next to O'Leary's land -- that O'Leary wants the village to give him -- where he's installed boulders, shrubs and a retaining wall. He already maintains the property.

But Bartels says he has had enough of the drama and is ready to expel both families from the village.

"I'm at the point that the next conversation that I want to have on this piece of property is de-annexing both of them (the O'Learys and the Clarkes)," Bartels said Monday night. "That is where I am with that, because it has been a draw on the village for years."

The Clarkes want to keep the land public, saying that giving the land to the O'Learys would make it easier for the O'Learys to go after them and their guests civilly for trespassing or negligent driving if they accidentally run into the property -- both families share that access point to their homes. They also argue that turning the property over would mean the village would no longer have the authority to make improvements there.

The Clarkes submitted a petition with the names of 36 people who back them and say they are ready to activate their lawsuit against East Dundee if the village board's vote goes O'Leary's way.

A judge denied the Clarke's case without prejudice, which means they can take the village back to court if the board gives the property to the O'Learys. A vote on the property will take place on Monday.

Bartels says the O'Learys shouldn't be rewarded for encroaching on village property and fears the Clarke lawsuit could drag on for years and cost taxpayers an untold amount of money.

"If we give the property to the O'Learys ... we also assume the liability, and then we spend money to defend that decision when that decision doesn't have to be made," Bartels said.

But Trustee Jeff Lynam says the village can "get this out of our hair" and end its involvement in the squabble by giving the disputed property to the O'Learys. The Clarkes, he said, would then have the burden of proving in court that the village did something wrong.

"If we do go ahead and cede this property over to them, then it'll become a private matter," Lynam said. "We're going to probably have to answer in court for, and make the argument for, our decision, but ... once that position has been defended, I really don't see what would possibly result that would drag it out further."

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