Builder quits decades-old St. Charles home project

A local builder who was working on Cliff McIlvaine’s St. Charles home has withdrawn from the project. City officials hoped they could hire Royal Builders to finish work on the home after a judge gave the city permission last week to perform repairs and bill McIlvaine, who had let the project languish since 1975 when he was first issued a permit.

“We made a business decision not to follow through on that,” Jim Webb, president of Royal Builders, said Wednesday. He declined to elaborate.

The city sued McIlvaine in late 2010, arguing he had not let inspectors visit his home in the 600 block of Prairie Street on the city’s near west side since he was first issued a permit when Gerald Ford was President.

McIlvaine and the city eventually reached an agreement to complete the project by September 2012 and he hired Royal Builders to help with the work.

But McIlvaine, who did not return a phone message Wednesday, missed numerous deadlines and constantly meddled with Webb’s crew.

Last week, a judge granted the city permission to finish the work — including installing a conventional roof instead of the specialized roof McIlvaine preferred — and to bill McIlvaine for the work.

McIlvaine has been fined $100 a day since last summer for code violations and the city intends to place a lien on his property that can be collected when he eventually sells it.

Phil Luetkehans, an attorney for the city, said St. Charles officials preferred to contract with Royal Builders to finish the project. But Webb informed Bob Vann, manager of the city’s Building and Code Enforcement Division, on Tuesday that he no longer wanted to continue with the project, Luetkehans said.

City staff members plan to compile a list of firms to possibly complete the work.

“Until late (Tuesday), we were hoping Royal Builders would complete the project,” Luetkehans said. “We all knew (Royal withdrawing) was a possibility. The city thinks highly of him and Royal Builders, but it’s his decision to make.”

Luetkehans estimated it would take up to six weeks for a company to install a new roof.

Last Friday, McIlvaine told Judge David Akemann he would not interfere with the project. Both sides are due in Kane County court July 12 to update the judge on the project.

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