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Chiropractor’s fight with Oak Lawn ends

Deetjen

Deetjen

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Updated: May 22, 2014 6:18AM



The last holdout in a major retail redevelopment project in Oak Lawn is moving to a new location, thanks to an agreement finally reached between him and the village after a year-long battle.

Chiropractor Rory Marrello, of Worth, the owner of Platinum Chiropractic, is moving temporarily from the doomed strip mall at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue, into the former Edgar Funeral Home building about a block north. His first day of business there will be Tuesday.

Marrello said he eventually plans to move to a Palos Heights site that he declined to identify until a lease is signed.

His move ends about a year of battling and bickering with the village, which has a high-profile redevelopment of the northwest corner of the intersection.

On Thursday, his last day in his old office, Marrello said he was glad to have the fight with village hall over.

“I’m happy this situation is done. I can move on,” he said.

A couple of hundred feet away, construction crews were busy working on what will become a Mariano’s supermarket. A Cooper’s Hawk restaurant is also coming to the corner.

Under the deal with the village, Oak Lawn is paying Marrello $95,000, and he will operate rent-free for 90 days in the Edgar building. The village also is paying up to $72,000 to renovate the Palos Heights office to accommodate his practice.

Marello’s rent in Palos Heights will be about $2,000 more per month because it is a larger space, and the $95,000 will help cover some of those increased costs, he said.

But there are still some hard feelings over the protracted effort to reach a settlement with the village.

“I didn’t care for money being placed in escrow, which is for paying the contractor for the build out. I can’t touch it,” Marrello said. “Anything over that ($72,000) comes from my pocket. Anything under goes back to the village. I’m going to use all but one cent.”

Marrello also finds it ironic that village officials told him they “wanted me to stay in Oak Lawn.”

“I’m not staying because of the way I’ve been screwed around,” he said. “I haven’t had water (in my office) in three months. It’s ridiculous. I’m glad it’s going to be done with. I can move on at a better location. Everything’s going to work out for the better. It’s just too bad they couldn’t have done this a year ago instead of dragging it out.”

Marrello had asked for $450,000 as a relocation fee and to buy out his 13-year lease in Oak Lawn. Village manager Larry Deetjen called the request “outrageous.”

While some businesses that were on the northwest corner of the intersection have closed, some found new homes.

Nobody fared better than Nick Stamos, of Oak Lawn, the owner of Flap-Jack’s Restaurant. Because he owned his building, Stamos got a $2.1 million buyout from Oak Lawn in November.

He plans to open the new Flap-Jack’s in the former Top Notch restaurant at the northeast corner of 95th Street and Cicero Avenue.

And then there was Marrello, who dug in his heels and fought the village. He endured his water being shut off three months ago by bringing in water so the toilets could be used.

“Regarding water service, a break occurred in the line, and under the legal requirements of the lease, the tenant was responsible for fixing the break,” Deetjen wrote in an email. “The chiropractor was treated extremely fair by the village. We offered an alternative site that was in move-in condition with more flexibility in time than (the) Edgar (building), but he was not interested.”

Negotiations sometimes were heated and sometimes broke down. After he agreed to the buyout plan, Marrello said he was told by Deetjen that he had to be moved out by 5 p.m. on Good Friday.

“Finally, their attorney talked them into letting us have until Easter Sunday. Everything is finally straightened out,” he said.

Like Marrello, Deetjen seemed weary of the whole process.

“He had been informed in person of the need to relocate in March of 2013,” he wrote in the email. “The decision to remain and not leave was backed by an outrageous insistent demand. ... The village could not respond to such demands from a tenant as we had no difficulties with other tenants and prior landlords. Fortunately, he finally agreed to resolve the matter, and we certainly wish him the very best of success in future endeavors.”



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