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Article updated: 10/11/2013 6:07 PM

Wheeling mobile home community drops injunction request

By Jessica Cilella

A federal judge agreed Friday to let residents of a Wheeling mobile home community withdraw their motion for a preliminary injunction in their legal battle with the village.

About 50 members of the Fox Point mobile home community along Milwaukee Avenue filed a complaint in court last month accusing village officials of trying to force them from their homes because of racial discrimination.

The community experienced flooding during an April storm that led the village to cite most of the homes for code violations, but the suit said damage was minimal and the code was enforced as a way to eliminate the mostly Hispanic-owned homes.

"We were able to reach an agreement that allows us to withdraw the motion for a temporary restraining order," said Chicago attorney Kelli Dudley, who filed the suit. "It gave the homeowners a little bit more time to investigate how they can come into compliance (with village codes) and it gave Wheeling ... the ability to go forward with the administrative process."

Village Manager Jon Sfondilis said in a statement that the withdrawal of the motion supports Wheeling's position that the discrimination claims are meritless.

"For Wheeling, building code enforcement at Fox Point in the wake of major flooding in April of 2013 has always been about ensuring that the mobile homes are safe for the residents. The village's efforts in this regard will continue," he said.

Enforcement hearings will resume Monday, Oct. 28, he said.

The suit sought an injunction to keep the village from removing the people from their homes and prevent officials from enforcing the town's building codes.

The group's decision to voluntarily withdraw the motion for a preliminary injunction came after a day and a half of testimony, according to a news release from the village.

Village President Dean Argiris said he will be briefed next week about how the village will move forward with enforcing code violations in Fox Point.

"I expected common sense would prevail and I think that's what happened today," he said. "The village of Wheeling will continue to do what it's supposed to be doing, which is to enforce the code."

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