A 54-year-old Maple Park man, who was sued by his neighbor on allegations he intentionally hurt her horse riding stable's business, recently was found not guilty of disorderly conduct.
Donald R. Cinkus, of the 1N700 block of Francis Road, was acquitted of the misdemeanor charge during a bench trial last month before Kane County Judge Elizabeth Flood, according to an attorney for Cinkus and court records.
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Cinkus was accused of sounding off an air horn Aug. 4, 2013, which spooked a horse and caused it to throw and injure its rider.
That incident, along with an allegation Cinkus erected a motocross track on his property, were cited in a lawsuit filed by Epona Dressage Inc. Dora Christensen, Epona owner and Cinkus' neighbor, filed the lawsuit, saying it was her last resort to stop Cinkus from damaging her business.
In the suit, she argued Cinkus harassed her clients, deliberately shot off the air horn to spook a horse, and invited other riders to use the motocross track, producing dust and noise that affected where and how she could train horses. Christensen voluntarily dropped the lawsuit in February, with the option of refiling it, according to court records.
Cinkus attorney Richard Williams said Flood issued a directed verdict of not guilty to the disorderly conduct charge. After hearing prosecutors' case against Cinkus, Flood ruled there was not enough evidence to proceed, stopping the trial before the defense presented its case.
"This is truly a case of two people who have a private dispute about their respective use of their land," Williams said. "They can resolve their differences in many ways. But there was no evidence of criminal conduct to approve a claim of disorderly conduct."
Williams hopes his client and Christensen can get along going forward.
"Mr. Cinkus will continue to use his property in a lawful manner," Williams said. "I hope these two people can learn to coexist and learn to talk to each other like adults instead of running to the courthouse and filing lawsuits."
Cinkus has refused to comment on the issue.
Christensen said she fears the verdict will give Cinkus license to shoot of the air cannon again. She said she is consulting with a different attorney.
She also wants to work with the Kane County Board to pass some type of noise ordinance that would restrict motocross riding and protect her business.
"We'll lose the little battle but in the end we'll win the big one." Christensen said. "He's going to use that (air cannon) again."