St. Charles has ‘had enough’ of decades-old home project

In January, St. Charles officials gave Clifford McIlvaine — who has been working on a home improvement project since Gerald Ford was president — three more months to make interior repairs in his home and formulate a plan to replace his roof.

But a judge learned Friday that no work was completed.

City officials on May 1 will ask Judge David Akemann for permission to demolish the home on the 600 block of Prairie Street or have the city perform repairs itself and send McIlvaine the final bill.

“Right now, we’re leaving both options open,” said Phil Luetkehans, attorney for the city, after a Friday court hearing. “We’ve had enough. The city has given him every opportunity to do the project his way on his own.”

St. Charles officials sued McIlvaine in late 2010, arguing he’d begun a construction project at his home in 1975 and never let the city inspect his property.

The city found numerous code violations and argued McIlvaine’s home was not only an eyesore, but a threat to public safety.

The two sides reached an accord that required McIlvaine to complete repairs by late September 2012. But McIlvaine missed numerous deadlines in spring 2012 and refused to connect to the city water supply, a move that landed him in jail for two weeks last summer for contempt of court.

Last January, a judge gave McIlvaine three months to put together a plan to install a new roof because work could not be done in the winter.

Luetkehans said the city also asked McIlvaine in February to complete interior electrical work, plumbing and install two garage doors at the property by April 1.

“We didn’t want him sitting around doing nothing for three months while we waited on the roof. None of them were done,” said Luetkehans, who noted the three tasks were originally supposed to be completed on May 29, 2012 and McIlvaine failed to submit a detailed plan for the roof on Friday.

The May 1 hearing could last several days before Akemann, who may give the city permission to demolish the home or make repairs itself and charge McIlvaine. McIlvaine has been fined $100 each day the project has been late since last summer. “It’s an evidentiary hearing. It will be like a mini-trial,” Luetkehans said.

McIlvaine has refused to comment on his case.

On Friday, Akemann also denied a request from McIlvaine to have a public defender represent him in the case. Public defenders are only appointed in criminal cases where the defendant is indigent.

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