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posted: 8/23/2012 12:58 PM

McIlvaine refuses city inspection so he's jailed for contempt

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  • Clifford McIlvaine

      Clifford McIlvaine

  • Clifford McIlvaine again refused to allow St. Charles city inspectors on his property. This time, a water inspector was not allowed on the property Monday to check McIlvaine's water supply system.

       Clifford McIlvaine again refused to allow St. Charles city inspectors on his property. This time, a water inspector was not allowed on the property Monday to check McIlvaine's water supply system.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

Nearly two years ago, the city of St. Charles sued Clifford McIlvaine after he refused to allow inspectors to check out a home addition he started in 1975 in the 600 block of Prairie Street.

Despite signing an agreement in September 2011 to finish the project within a year and connect to the city's water supply, McIlvaine missed numerous deadlines or flat out refused to follow the order.

Thursday, McIlvaine was found in contempt of court for the second time after he refused a final offer by Kane County Judge Thomas Mueller for an additional three weeks to connect to the city water system, a task that was to be completed in May.

Mueller ordered McIlvaine jailed until a court hearing Aug. 30.

"You can't expect the city to turn a blind eye to other flagrant violations to the city code, and you've asked them to do that," Mueller said, noting that McIlvaine was thumbing his nose at the court.

"I am not thumbing my nose at the court," McIlvaine protested.

"You are. You are refusing to acknowledge the law," the judge said. "Now you're back before the court trying to rewrite the rules. It doesn't work that way."

The matter was set for trial in October 2011, but McIlvaine and the city signed an consent decree to complete the project by September 2012.

The decree said McIlvaine could use an existing cistern at his home for toilets and laundry, but had to connect to the city water supply for drinking and bathing.

Thursday, Stephen Herra, a plumbing inspector for the city, testified that McIlvaine had refused to allow Herra to inspect the water system at the home on Monday. McIlvaine instead said he was installing a purification system and didn't want to connect to the city water.

McIlvaine also missed numerous construction deadlines, argued with construction contractors and was found in contempt of court in May. McIlvaine said numerous earlier this month and again on Thursday that he signed the agreement under "duress."

Instead of jail them, Mueller ordered McIlvaine to be fined $100 a day. Mueller reasoned that putting McIlvaine behind bars would not help move the project toward completion, which city officials have maintained all along is their only goal.

"I think we're all sad to see what happened," said Phil Luetkenhans, an attorney for the city. "He continues to refuse to comply with the agreement he signed. We all preferred it to be the other way."

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