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posted: 1/26/2014 5:18 PM

Homeowner gets lawyer to help in battle with St. Charles

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The legal saga surrounding the city of St. Charles' effort to force Cliff McIlvaine to finish a decades-old construction project is entering its fourth year.

And with it, a new push from McIlvaine to have the city leave him alone for failing to complete city-mandated work at his home on the 600 block of Prairie Street.

The city sued McIlvaine in late 2010 seeking to inspect his home addition project for which he first was issued a permit in 1975. McIlvaine eventually signed a "consent decree" in fall 2011, pledging to complete work by fall 2012.

But he fell behind, missed numerous deadlines, and refused to connect to the city water supply -- a move that landed him in the Kane County jail for two weeks for contempt of court.

Now McIlvaine, who has acted as his own attorney in most previous court proceedings, has lawyered up again.

Attorney Philip Piscopo immediately filed a motion asking Judge David Akemann to dismiss the city's contempt of court petition against his client. Piscopo argues the consent decree is "too vague and uncertain," that jail time for contempt is a "drastic remedy" to get a property owner to comply with the city's zoning ordinances, and McIlvaine's constitutional rights are being violated.

"The city assumes that anything the defendant does which the city does not like, or which may be in violation of some ordinance enacted by the city, is punishable by contempt under the consent decree, whether or not it has anything to do with the project," Piscopo wrote.

"Such an assumption unlawfully singles (McIlvaine) out for special negative treatment, including the possibility of jail time, not meted out to other persons in the city who engage in similar violations. Such treatment treats similarily situated persons dissimilarly, in violation of the equal protections clauses of the Illinois and United States Constitutions," he continued.

Akemann will hear arguments from the attorneys Feb. 6.

If Akemann rejects the motion to dismiss, a new date will be set for the city to argue for permission to take over the project, complete it and bill McIlvaine.

City attorneys made a similar push in May 2013 and were granted permission to install a conventional asphalt shingle roof, bury an exposed power line and erect an exterior staircase on the home's west side.

Stay tuned.

Aurora officer honored: Aurora Police Officer Marcin Lemanski recently was recognized as the department's December 2013 Employee of the Month for helping catch two men in November accused of holding up a business on the 1600 block of Montgomery Road.

Lemanski, a six-year veteran, helped establish a perimeter designed to nab two suspects that were wearing ski masks and driving a sport utility vehicle. He saw two men riding in a Pontiac Bonneville and one of the men threw something from the car, possibly a ski mask or hooded sweatshirt.

Lemanski followed the car, which suddenly stopped and the two men ran. One suspect got away, but police caught the other and recovered a bag of money in the car, along with a pellet gun believed used in the robbery.

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