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Judge begins testimony into fate of McIlvaine’s home

Published: Thursday, May 2, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, May 2, 2013 7:17 a.m. CST

GENEVA – Kane County Judge David Akemann on Wednesday began hearing testimony regarding what should happen to St. Charles resident Clifford McIlvaine’s home-improvement project, which was started decades ago.

Akemann is reviewing a petition by the city of St. Charles to demolish or repair the property at 605 Prairie St., St. Charles.

The hearing will continue at 1:30 p.m. today.

McIlvaine started the project in 1975. The city sued McIlvaine in 2010, pushing him to get the project finished. A work schedule later was agreed upon in court.

City officials want McIlvaine to comply with a court order to finish the project.

The project was supposed to have been completed by the end of September, according to the order.

“It’s already eight months behind,” Phil Luetkehans, an attorney for St. Charles, told Akemann. “The only way we will get this done is if St. Charles is allowed to go in and finish the project.”

In turn, McIlvaine told Akemann that the work schedule “was arbitrary and insufficient to start with.”

“They have done everything in their power to slow me down,” he said.

Luetkehans said the project remains a safety hazard because of unfinished items, including a roof that’s partly done.

Bob Vann, the city’s building and code enforcement division manager and Brian Byrne, of the St. Charles Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau, both testified the property is unsafe.

McIlvaine asked Akemann whether the judge wanted to look at the property himself. Akemann said he would consider the request.

McIlvaine had corrected the plumbing system in his house as ordered by the court and St. Charles officials. McIlvaine had been warned that he had to prevent his cistern water system from connecting to the city’s water supply or the city would proceed with an application for demolition or repair of the house.

A cistern is a tank for storing rainwater.

McIlvaine has signed a court order saying he will not use it for bathing or drinking water, and the city wanted to make sure the system does not pollute city water.

He was jailed for two weeks in 2012 after a judge found him in contempt of court.

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