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Monday, July 23, 2012

Owners of Downer Place Property Create Health and Safety Hazard for Neighborhood and Massive Cost to Aurora Taxpayers | Beacon-News and Taxpayer Funded Media Official Intentionally Spread Misleading Story






The owners of a home at 1026 Downer Place on the west side of Aurora unleashed a serious health and safety hazard on their neighbors and massive cost to all City of Aurora taxpayers.

And, to make the situation even worse, Denise Crosby of the Aurora Beacon-News (aka "Beacon-fused") intentionally wrote a misleading story, leaving out critical facts, that have been used as personal attacks on concerned neighbors and political shots at public officials.

Here's what happened based upon FACTS.

The property owners repeatedly stated over the last several weeks their intent to just "walk away" from their home.

Neighbors, concerned about the family and property, inquired to see if there were any available options with the city to help them with financial resources.

The owners started having garage sales to liquidate their personal property and, over recent weeks, took steps to leave their property.

About two weeks ago, on a Sunday, the owners declared they were leaving and informed neighbors they would not be seeing them again.  They were walking away from the property as promised.

They vacated the property, leaving doors wide open and a massive health and safety hazard created.

From massive amounts of debris on the outside with weeds and unmowed lawn to maggots, fleas, feces, rotting food, garbage and deplorable conditions on the inside, the property owners not only demonstrated a lack of regard for their property, but for the neighborhood surrounding it.

Neighbors concerned over the infestation and a deteriorating situation that was a danger to the children and everyone, tried to alleviate the crisis by trying to address the infestation by disposing of the rotting food and making efforts to clean up the massive mess.

After initial efforts to clean up the massive mess, the neighbors contacted Alderman Rick Lawrence about the situation and asked him to see what could be done to deal with the crisis.

Lawrence said when he stopped by the property later that day to evaluate the situation, he saw massive debris and infestation.  He informed the neighbors that he would report the situation to the city's property standards division to take appropriate action.

In fact, not only Lawrence reported the situation to the appropriate city departments, but the city took immediate action, sending inspectors and soon after crews to remove massive debris, mow the lawn and address the health and safety hazards on the exterior of the property.

By Friday, the city crews had removed exterior debris, mowed the law and secured the property that had been left wide open and vacated by the property owners.

Then, on Sunday, the property owner made a return visit, only to find that the city had taken action to address the immediate health and safety hazards by removing the massive debris.

The property owner, upset that his plan to leave the property in a hazardous condition had been disrupted, dumped additional debris and left the home again...and, once again, leaving the property wide open.

However, before he left, he complained that city officials and neighbors should have looked the other way and not entered the property.

He also told neighbors that he needed help with financial resources so some neighbors even gave him money despite the fact he had created such a health and safety hazard.

Then, the owners contacted the Beacon-News and Aurora Police to say the neighbors and city had caused him harm and loss, even though the owners had created the crisis.

Aurora Police officers, who had entered the property to check on any vagrants that may be inside since the doors had been left open, so they could secure the property yet again, were covered by so many fleas during their visit, sources confirm they had to visit Animal Control to have the fleas fully removed.

Despite the reckless disregard for the health, safety or quality of life for the neighborhood and community, the property owners have continued to blame everyone else.

On Sunday, Denise Crosby and the Beacon-fused intentionally ran a misleading story about the situation, falsely depicting the property owners as the innocent victims and making wild allegations against the neighbors and city officials, suggesting they somehow conspired to take the maggot, feces and flea-infested personal belongings that were left to decay by the property owners.

The Beacon-News showed a photo of the exterior of the property...AFTER debris, garbage and hazards had been removed by city crews at considerable taxpayer expense.

They intentionally did not show the photos of the debris and garbage, as shown above, since that would contradict the "story" the Beacon-News was attempting to falsely portray.

The misleading story has been used to attack the neighbors, Alderman Lawrence, the Aurora Police and City of Aurora officials who took any action to address the crisis, including suggesting the "law was broken" by entering the property and somehow nobody has a right to do anything, even if it's a health and safety hazard and there's clearly visible junk and debris.

In FACT, the City of Aurora does have the legal authority to take action without notice on such vacated properties.  While property rights can and should be respected, the rights of others to live in a safe, healthy surroundings are also essential.

A city official confirmed "as of now, it looks like the only evidence of any law being violated is by the property owners, who are being cited for numerous violations."

That hasn't stopped certain people from spreading false and defamatory statements about the neighbors or city officials, suggesting laws were broken.

Amy Roth, the library's taxpayer-funded public information officer, who recently was lambasted by the public after Alderman Lawrence pointed out she boasted that non-residents would be paying less fees this year while Aurora taxpayers were getting a massive tax increase for the library, demonstrated her personal animosity by spreading false suggestions that Alderman Lawrence may have broke the law.

Ironically, when Amy Roth was a freelance reporter for the Chicago Tribune, she was repeatedly given information on crimes and corruption at Aurora's City Hall, not only knowingly looking the other way, but then getting a city job with the same people she had previously failed to report on.

Roth, who failed to do her job objectively and without bias, later got a new job with the library, which she now uses to spew her views...at taxpayer expense.

The tragic situation of a property becoming infested with debris, garbage and maggots isn't bad enough, but in Aurora, we have the columnist for a newspaper printing garbage and the library's public information officer making wild accusations that even fleas or maggots can't stick to.

We commend the concerned neighbors, city officials, inspectors, crews, police officers and others who risked their health and safety to protect the rest of us.  We hope the property owners will take responsible actions regarding their property and not cause any further negative impact on the community.

And, we say shame on the intentional misleading garbage coming from people like Denise Crosby or Amy Roth, both who should be fired for their trash and deplorable conduct.

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice try

Anonymous said...

Come on Openline, the only people riled up about this situation are those with fingerprints inside a home they were not invited into. Its government overreach, just admit it and move on. Its not that big of a deal but Ald Lawrence was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Obviously this blog is written by Lawrence trying to spin his way out of it. These pictures were after the residents went through all the stuff. This just proves that this blog is nothing but bull sh*t.

Anonymous said...

Face it Rick, you acted without thinking it through.
The only reason that this cost the taxpayers for the "clean-up" was that Lawrence demanded that staff act without checking the facts. Because the city acted without giving the normal notice to the property owner, the city cannot collect the cost of the clean-up.

Rick, next time check the facts then act. Then you will not have egg on your face.

Anonymous said...

What does Amy Roth have to do with the property on Downer Place. It is obvious that she irritated openline/Rick Lawrence because she refused to report stories in the Tribune the way Lawrence wanted. Those who fail to print the truth according to Lawrence find themselves the target of opnline.

Anonymous said...

You can read right through all the BS!! When has openline or Ald. Lawrence ever given positive credit to city officials or departments? Never!! In fact, Ald. Lawrence only complains about and criticizes City officials and departments in public and any opportunity he can find a person who is willing to listen to his BS for more than a minute.

Anonymous said...

arrest the looters, anyone that illegally entered the house.

This is a nation that believes in the rule of law.

Anonymous said...

fox and friends will be visiting this location tomorrow am.

Al Kohollick said...

I commend the Alderman for being pro-active in trying to address concerns voiced by people i his ward. However, I am somewhat saddened by the appearance of neighbors who seemingly cared more about their perceived property values than they cared about the poor people who lived at the property who are going through some difficult times. It's extremely self-centered and snobbish to be worried about property values when people are struggling with health and financial issues.

Anonymous said...

Rick,

Get a good nights sleep.

The news trucks with their flood lights should be outside your house at 3:30am for your comment.

Anonymous said...

is trespassing still against the law?

Anonymous said...

Nice try Openline. It looks like you and your candidate for mayor got your comeuppance.

It is doubtful that Rick Lawrence could win an election for dogcatcher at this point.

Anyone interested in running for 4th Ward alderman?

Anonymous said...

are these photos after the neighbors looted the house?

It is a shame that the 4th ward is so full of vultures.

Anonymous said...

Rick will be wearing an orange jumpsuit and pink underwear before this is over.

tip of the hat to Sheriff Joe Arpio.

Anonymous said...

If Rick Lawrence were smart, he would keep his mouth shut between now and election time. Maybe he would win re-election to his seat on the city council. Maybe people will forget about his conduct.

Is Rick capable of that?

Anonymous said...

I don't think that Rick can run for election from jail?

Anonymous said...

Rick has been a bully and deserves no compassion.

Anonymous said...

Rick has been a bully and deserves no compassion.

Anonymous said...

No, that's why he called in sick for tomorrows city council meeting. Instead he's going to have the city clerk read a prepared statement written by his good friends Openline and Malik

Anonymous said...

Lawrence should resign.

Anonymous said...

We should all call for Rick Lawrence's resignation. He CLEARLY broke the law. Oh wait RL is above the law and can do whatever the heck he wants.

The couple needs to press charges and put him in JAIL.

Lawrence is a racist bigot who uses the same arguments for neighborhood gentrification that Jim Crow did back in the 60's. GET HIM OUT OF OFFICE!!!

Anonymous said...

the Kane County Bar Association should take this up to defend the family and sue all that entered illegally, including Rick Lawrence.

That should cover their medical costs and pay off the house.

Anonymous said...

Steve Titiner are you out there?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Rick is finding out that mistakes can be made when you act. It's easy to sit in your armchair and criticize others.

Hopefully, Rick will learn from this.

Anonymous said...

I agree, I believe it was Weisner that inducted Lawrence into the Monday morning quarterback hall of fame.

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Anonymous said...

Rick's always firmly believed in ready, fire, aim.

Anonymous said...

BTW these photos which were carefully chosen do not back up the claims of maggots, feces, rotting food, etc. IF there were photos that showed that, I'm sure Openline would have put them here. It's not believable that the owners would have left the home as Openline describes, AND THEN COME BACK. If Openline's version was true, we would never have heard about it because the owner would still be wherever he moved to. The intentional spreading of a misleading story is Openline's attempted cover up.

Anonymous said...

Funny Rick is so worried about the college kids in his ward causing problems, yet he and the others are the trespassing thieves. I hope APD has the balls to prosecute this dope. I wonder if him violating the 4th amendment as alderman counts as "color of authority" and will result in a major payoff by the city. Remember Rick, "incompetent" Alayne Weingartz is city attorney. You had promise as alderman if you would only got out of your own way. Now that you put in your eight years, you can live of the public tit with your free insurance hence forth. Your a douche bag. Just go away.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is being too hard on Prick Lawrence. Its not his fault that no one told him that the toy police badge and coloring book given to him during his APD ride along wasn't real.

Anonymous said...

Reprints4Updated: September 6, 2011 12:38AM

AURORA — Alderman Rick Lawrence confirmed Thursday that Aurora police are investigating an incident that occurred at his West Side home recently.
“There was an individual in my home that was tremendously intoxicated, and I threw him out of my house,” Lawrence said. “I’m letting the police do what they’re doing and investigating it.”
Lawrence declined to comment further.
Police said they were not called out on an incident but that someone came into the station with a complaint.

Police declined to comment on whether they are investigating.

Anonymous said...

Aurora Alderman Rick Lawrence to return the 2008 Award of Excellence in Government from the Illinois State Crime Commission at tomorrows city council meeting.

Anonymous said...

The only "massive cost" to taxpayers will be the settlement of the civil suit.

Anonymous said...

Dick Lawrence won't be at tonights City Council meeting. He will be in Chicago taping a segment for the Jerry Springer show. Any thoughts of the subject matter?

Anonymous said...

MAVIS BATES FOR 4TH WARD ALDERMAN!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the neighbors will come forward and tell their story, instead of hiding.

Anonymous said...

I live on this block. It's obvious all the individuals with these comments do not. Denise Crosby wrote a slanted story. She made it clear that she was not fact finding but merely looking for anyone who would confirm the fictious story fed to her. The pictures you see and the do not display the feces, maggots, dead rodents and the unbelievable stench.

Anonymous said...

MAVIS BATES FOR 4TH WARD ALDERMAN!!!

Yes, so we can have yet another Democrat who sets as a mission flooding the 4th Ward with low income people who are on Government assistance. As if Aurora doesn't have enough problems the last thing the 4th needs is an Alderman who benefits by importing poverty!

Anonymous said...

4th ward is a nice area in this city. Rick has done a good job to keep it that way

Anonymous said...

Isn't burglary a felony? Where'd Rick think he was at Jericho Circle?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone know that the husband was sick since these people seem to noticve things going on in the area? How many went over and offered to help them with things like lawn care and maintenance or did you really not know them until you seen that they where gone. It stated in the paper that the man had given a key to someone in case something happened did they talk to this person to see what was going on. Also, the pictures do not state if these are before or after pictures of when paople came into the house. Maybe if like someone stated you took the time to know your neighbors before they left you would know thier stituation. This was wrong.

S. Pierce said...

Once again, everyone jumps from one conclusion to the next before ALL the facts are before them. I would like to see the full investigation before deciding what did and did not happen. But we won't see that from the Beacon News. We most certainly won't read the truth from any of the "Anonymous" posters. Put up or shut up.

Anonymous said...

The bearded leader is probably patting himself on the back for his psycotic genius. He has, at least in his mind killed three or four birds with one stone, and all without ruffling the feathers of mavis's sierra buddies.
Ought to be interesting to see who is footing the bill for the hand picked candidate to challange the current 4th ward alderman.

Anonymous said...

I'd worry more about flooding the 4th ward with windmiills.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but also entails breaking into with intent to steal, which hardly applies in this situation now does it?

Anonymous said...

Come on wiz, tell us what' really on your feble mind.

Anonymous said...

Much of the politics of this may not matter very much. Lawrence has said he is not running for re-election in the 4th Ward.

Anonymous said...

No one is a winner here. None of this would have happened if the home was in good condition, but it wasn't. The condition of the home, while everyone lived there was deplorable. While Mike and Sue lived here, they were helped by neighbors with meals while sick (plates still not returned), loans (still unpaid) and lawn care. We were told by them, they were not coming back after they moved on Saturday. Lastly, the majority of the neighbors did not step foot inside the home after they left.

Anonymous said...

If the story was just about clean up, whether food and garbage in or outside I could buy the "without malice" and "good intentions" excuse. However, when you start helping yourself to crock pots, lawn equipment and whenever else the neighbors STOLE, you should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know from the word pimp, Crosby, just what "historic house" has to do with this story? Could it be she thinks its emphasis makes the story better and Lawrence more evil? Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

12:19 They went in without the owners permission and stole his property. That's exactly what they did.

If the neighbors were trying to help, why didn't they put the garbage out with stickers. They removed what they wanted,now didn't they?

They didn't just go in, which they had no business doing, I'm sure the stench (if it was real) wasn't coming from inside the house. And it doesn't look like the garbage was visible from the street. At least the City admitted their mistake and aren't charging the guy.

They didn't just report it to the COA. And BTW, this wouldn't be such a big story if Lawrence wasn't constantly critisizing everyone else's mistakes.

It's an unfortunate situation for all concerned, but because Lawrence is so detested..................

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:55-

Lose the drama about the 'historic' house.

Anonymous said...

It makes 7:55 look more ridiculous. That's the purpose

Anonymous said...

So 9:08 where ARE the pictures that depict the rotting food, maggots, etc.? You, one of your neighbors, Lawrence, or the city made sure to get photos of debris outside. Why didn't anybody get pictures of the really bad stuff that made this a health hazard? Didn't think of it? Or because it wasn't there? Was the lawn mower covered w/ rotting food and maggots?

All of you defending this action have carefully avoided mentioning one very big thing: Rick Lawrence admitted entering the home was a mistake. Regardless of WHY some of the "neighbors" entered the house, they had no legal right to do so. That's why there is a legal procedure established to follow -- to take care of hazards and nuisance properties while still protecting the rights of the owners. The first neighbor to find an open door should have stayed outside and called the police to secure the property from everybody -- including (or especially) the neighbors. When Rick Lawrence was called, he shouldn't have called the Mayor's office to short-circuit the appropriate procedure, he should have made sure the appropriate procedure was started and followed.

Anonymous said...

"Lastly, the majority of the neighbors did not step foot inside the home after they left.

7/24/12 9:31 PM"

Excellent, so some of the neighbors DO know right from wrong. And the ones who DID enter obviously do also, because they're hiding. If they were so sure they did the right thing, they'd be publically identifying themselves. But I haven't seen any names of who entered the house except Rick Lawrence -- and he admitted he shouldn't have.

Anonymous said...

9:08 the only way she can write a balance story is if the people who entered the house talk to her and give her THEIR side of the story. Instead, they agree to a meeting with her to tell her "no comment". They could have done that over the phone. The only reason I can see for them to do that is that they know that even THEIR side of the story would show them in the wrong. 5:29 was right on -- the "massive cost" is going to come from the lawsuits, not the city clean up. If the people who had taken stuff had stepped up and been honest w/ the homeowner and said something like "I gave your lawnmower to charity, what was it worth", they might get away w/ paying just the homeowner's losses (which he estimates were less than $5k). But now that he's had to hire a lawyer, any payout has to be increased to cover the cost of the lawyer (whose fee is probably higher than the cost of the missing property).

Anonymous said...

our friend BILL should see this.It would shake him back into reality. REALY

Anonymous said...

Hardee-har-har. Any demand to city staff by the 4th ward alderman would have been met the usual contempt the bearded leader reserves for Lawrence. This type of action could only have been taken by order of city COO Deleon who continues to exhibit a total disregard for what is right and legal, and takes what ever steps he feels necesssry to protect his personal gravy train.

Anonymous said...

Good question. Ask the Wiz or clown prince Deleon. They seem to have a habit of ordering city staff to enter upon the property of others without cause. Not to mention the other dispicale acts that have become a requirementt for one to keep their job.

Anonymous said...

When was the last time Denise Crosby wrote a story that wasn't slanted?

Anonymous said...

Ah, an oldy but a goody, 6:29 & 6:40. "Hey, it must be THEIR fault because they were stupid enough to listen to Rick Lawrence. It's not Lawrence's fault that HE went into private property without permission. It's these other guys' fault."

Anonymous said...

Hey 6:46 when's the last time Openline posted a story that wasn't slanted? NEVER.

Anonymous said...

Answers given by those asking the question are most offten wrong, and only a blatent attempt to to lead other mindless readers into agreement with their own indefensable viewpoints.

Anonymous said...

Unless it's the right answer

Anonymous said...

8:27 Maybe Crosby should lose the drama about the "historic house".....she is the one who wrote it. Just helps to slant the story in favor of the writer which is what today's modern pseudo reporters do when they want to bloviate rather than look for the truth. Just listen to any radio or T.V. reporter and 90% of them use this tactic.

Anonymous said...

100% of them on Fox use it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, to be fair, I'd say 100% on MSNBC do, too. Rather amusing -- Fox and MSNBC are 2 sides of the same coin.

Anonymous said...

Hey 8:15-

Why don't you lose your drama about the "historic" house? Quit being so sensitive about your little special interest group and act like a grown up.

Anonymous said...

It just dawned on me that the majority of Openline's posts end up calling for someone to resign or be fired (at least anyone but Rick Lawrence), and I can't recall a single instance where that person resigned or was fired. Guess your word doesn't carry all that much weight, does it Openline. Here's what you should do: every day check w/ the cities human resources department and find out who's been fired or quit. Then publish a post calling for that person to quit or be fired. Then publish a follow-up quote taking credit for them quitting or being fired.

Anonymous said...

"And, we say shame on the intentional misleading garbage coming from people like Denise Crosby or Amy Roth, both who should be fired for their trash and deplorable conduct."

Hmmm, does that mean Openline should be fired or quit for all the intentional misleading garbage HE'S put out all these years on a whole heck of a lot of different subjects?

Anonymous said...

Garbage is too much of a compliment

Anonymous said...

Also note that no charges were filed against the neighbors, because the owner declined to press charges. No charges were filed against the owner, either. Maybe because Openline was misleading about the owner creating a health and safety hazard for the neighborhood.

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Anonymous said...

LOL Openline is so transparent when he tries to be sneaky. Notice the flurry of corruption stories about people who haven't been in the news or on Openline in a long time? The totally lame Chicken Dance, etc. videos? We all know why there's a flurry of this stuff lately -- to take up space on the first page, and push these 2 posts that Openline wrote to defend Lawrence to the "Older Posts" pages. And why would he do that? Because so many of the comments were less than totally supportive of Lawrence. Just wanted to make sure you knew we're on to you, Openline.