Orland fire chief’s home in foreclosure
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org June 7, 2012 11:04PM
Orland Fire Protection District Chief Ken Brucki
Updated: July 9, 2012 6:21AM
The bank that holds the mortgage on the house of new Orland Fire Protection District Chief Ken Brucki sued nearly two months ago to foreclose on the loan, but Brucki said he has reached a settlement with the bank.
Brucki, who was sworn in to office Tuesday, said it wasn’t financial mismanagement that brought about the foreclosure but two serious injuries he suffered as a firefighter that put him on disability leave for two years and cut his family’s income by two-thirds.
JPMorgan Chase filed the foreclosure suit in Cook County Circuit Court on April 12, seeking about $310,000 for a loan of just under $313,000 that it made in 2009 on Brucki’s Orland Park house.
“This (foreclosure) has little to nothing to do with (financial) management and everything to do with our loss of income or decrease of income,” Brucki said Thursday. “We have managed this situation well.”
He said he’s dipping into money set aside for his retirement and that Chase has agreed to withdraw the foreclosure complaint once he’s current on the loan, which he expects to happen in about a week.
Formerly a first lieutenant with the Pleasantview Fire Protection District in the west suburbs, where he worked since 1994, Brucki was tabbed as Orland’s chief following a nationwide search. Battalion Chief Ray Kay served as acting chief for a year after former Chief Bryant Krizik was placed on leave and agreed last summer to take early retirement.
Brucki, 44, said a fall from a ladder during a training exercise five years ago ruptured his left Achilles tendon and tore the right, and he was on disability leave for a year. He didn’t have surgery to repair the right tendon and was told the chances of it rupturing were high, he said.
Brucki said he was back on the job for about a year when the right tendon ruptured while he was fighting a fire at a Wal-Mart in Hodgkins, placing him on disability leave for another year.
“It could have been a career-ending injury,” the chief said. “The combination of the two (injuries) so quickly put us in trouble, we couldn’t make all our bills.”
Brucki said he tried to get Chase to modify his mortgage and hired a law firm for help but was unable to come to terms with the bank.
He said he doesn’t believe the foreclosure should call into question his ability to manage the fire district budget, a task in which the fire chief gets assistance.
“We have a full finance department in place,” Brucki said. “There are plenty of checks and balances before I am the final say in what public monies are spent.”