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McIlvaine alleges city has damaged home

Case marks 1st time for Chronicle to photograph inside courtroom

GENEVA – Contractors are months into making court-ordered repairs on Clifford McIlvaine’s home, but the St. Charles resident filed new motions before a judge Friday morning, alleging that contractors caused more damage to his home in the process and have made some unnecessary changes.

The city sued McIlvaine in 2010, pushing him to finish a home repair project that was started more than 30 years ago. Kane County Judge David Akemann recently allowed the city of St. Charles to proceed with repairing McIlvaine’s property at 605 Prairie St., St. Charles.

Friday’s hearing was particularly notable, because it marked the first time in which cameras were used in a Kane County courtroom. The Illinois Supreme Court in May approved a pilot program allowing Kane County to become the 29th county in the state to permit cameras in courtrooms.

The attorney representing St. Charles, Phillip Luetkehans, said the city’s contractor has completed the home’s roof, installed a stairwell landing, covered some exposed wiring and has done some foundation work. He said some outside contractors are working to complete the brick flashing around the home’s doors and windows.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in the last two months,” he said after the hearing. “The roof is now complete. The rate [McIlvaine] was going, it would have taken him a year.”

Luetkehans addressed some of the damages before Judge David Akemann, saying that the city’s contractor did not properly secure a tarp to McIlvaine’s garage and solarium while the roof was being repaired. A storm on Monday flooded those areas in the home, causing damage to equipment and materials stored there, according to McIlvaine’s motions.

Luetkehans said the city’s contractors are fully bonded and insured, and said insurance will cover any damages caused by water entering the garage and solarium. He said the contractor also brought in large dehumidifiers to dry out the space.

“I tried to get in writing last week all the disasters the city’s caused,” McIlvaine told Akemann.

In the motions he filed Friday, McIlvaine said that he “suffered great loss in personal property” in the form of ruined materials and equipment that were stored inside of the garage and solarium. He also is seeking removal of an outdoor staircase leading to an attic, stating that it creates a fire hazard. He also said other builders he has spoken with told him that they were unaware of any code regulations that would require such a staircase.

Luetkehans said the staircase was installed for safety reasons because the second-floor room has no means of ingress or egress.

In a third motion, McIlvaine said he “suffered years worth of loss of money in labor and materials” because the city has not allowed him to install the foam and steel roof that he had obtained a permit for. He also said he will suffer years worth of money losses because the roof is not insulated.

Luetkehans said Friday was the first time he had seen McIlvaine’s latest motions. He plans to file a response on behalf of the city by Aug. 6, and McIlvaine has until Aug. 16 to file a reply. The two parties are scheduled to meet again in court for another hearing Aug. 28.

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