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updated: 11/5/2012 5:30 PM

Excavator blames E. Dundee for sinking parking lot

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  • Dundee Automotive owner Randy Klemm, far right, looks on in September as excavators dig up the parking lot next to his shop to see what might be causing two parking lots to cave in. Steve Komarchuk, owner of Arthur Popp Excavators in West Dundee, believes the village of East Dundee is responsible because a water main broke. Komarchuk is seen here operating the backhoe. His brother Mike is in the blue hat.

       Dundee Automotive owner Randy Klemm, far right, looks on in September as excavators dig up the parking lot next to his shop to see what might be causing two parking lots to cave in. Steve Komarchuk, owner of Arthur Popp Excavators in West Dundee, believes the village of East Dundee is responsible because a water main broke. Komarchuk is seen here operating the backhoe. His brother Mike is in the blue hat.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

  • Despite all the work being done to fix the underground water main problem on the property, Dundee Automotive has stayed open in East Dundee. The trench shown here on Monday was dug to install electrical lines and isn't part of the water main repair.

       Despite all the work being done to fix the underground water main problem on the property, Dundee Automotive has stayed open in East Dundee. The trench shown here on Monday was dug to install electrical lines and isn't part of the water main repair.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

  • Grading work is under way in the parking lot of Dundee Automotive in East Dundee. Underground water main issues were causing the pavement to buckle and sink but recently have been fixed.

       Grading work is under way in the parking lot of Dundee Automotive in East Dundee. Underground water main issues were causing the pavement to buckle and sink but recently have been fixed.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

 
 

The village of East Dundee is to blame for a business being in danger of going under, quite literally, a local excavator says.

And while Dundee Automotive owner Randy Klemm wants the village to pay for the damage his business has sustained from a water main that had collapsed under his parking lot, causing the lot to break up and sink, Village Manager Bob Skurla said he needs Klemm to put it in writing.

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"I've got to have a starting point," Skurla said. "The ball is in his court to get me something."

For more than a month, Arthur Popp Excavating has been digging up the parking lot at Dundee Automotive at Routes 72 and 68 to get to the bottom of why the parking lot was collapsing. The work is expected to end later this week.

Steve Komarchuk owns the excavating company and suspects that a broken water main running in front of the shop is to blame.

"I think it was a combination of the drought and the water main break that the village had," Komarchuk said. "Nobody knows what happened with the ground, but the water main certainly exacerbated the situation. There is no doubt about that."

Klemm suspects the water main broke sometime in July, but he didn't see actual water until September, when a plume of water shot out of the grass and into the parking lot, he said.

"Since they fixed the water main, nothing has moved, nothing has changed. Everything has been fine," Klemm said. "Since this stopped, everything else has stopped."

Klemm predicts that all of the work will cost more than $100,000 and he expects to have an estimate to the village by next week. Although Klemm's insurance will pick up the tab for the work, he says it shouldn't be on the hook to pay for damage he says is the village's responsibility.

But Skurla can't do anything about the problem until he has proof.

"Randy has got to come back to me with something in writing with the dollar amount as well as a supposed cause so we can discuss it," Skurla said. "I've not seen anything in writing from anyone to suggest that it was the fault of the village."

Skurla pointed out that the village already has helped Klemm by giving him money to buy temporary signs, which told the public Klemm was still open during the work. If it turns out the village is not at fault, the village board could still discuss ways to keep Klemm happy financially.

But nothing can start until Klemm submits the necessary paperwork.

"It's a starting point," Skurla said. "It's not a guarantee that we're going to write a check absolutely."

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