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Article updated: 11/14/2012 5:11 PM

City wants OK to demolish, or fix, bill man for home work

By Harry Hitzeman

The city of St. Charles will ask a judge in January for permission to demolish the home of a St. Charles man who has let an improvement project fester since 1975, or to make repairs itself and send homeowner Cliff McIlvaine the bill.

"It is a final resort. I think we are at that point. Hopefully Mr. McIlvaine understands that," said Phil Luetkehans, attorney for the city.

The city sued McIlvaine in late 2010 to force him to finish a project on his home in the 600 block of Prairie Street that he began in the 1970s.

McIlvaine and the city inked an agreement in fall 2011 that work would be done by September 2012. But he fell behind, interfered with construction crews and spent two weeks in the Kane County jail for contempt of court.

McIlvaine appeared Wednesday before Judge Thomas Mueller and city officials, who have maintained they want McIlvaine to finish the project completed or, failing that, fix it themselves and bill McIlvaine or demolish the home.

Judge David Akemann will hear arguments Jan. 14 because Mueller is being transferred to the juvenile court division next month.

"The city did not see what we deemed significant progress over the last several weeks," Luetkehans said. "In (McIlvaine's) mind there was progress. The problem is he's built a few feet of brick and he thinks that's progress."

Two weeks ago, Luetkehans said officials were encouraged that McIlvaine had come to an financial agreement with a contractor, Royal Builders, and a full-time work crew was to be on site and handle brick work, the roof and other aspects of the project.

A message left with Jim Webb of Royal Builders was not immediately returned.

"(McIlvaine) can show up (on Jan. 14) and do whatever he wants. We'll obviously be looking at the project for he next six weeks to see what he has done," Luetkehans said.

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