Hazel Crest woman told to clean home
BY DONNA VICKROY firstname.lastname@example.org June 20, 2013 10:04PM
Police officer Sandy Solomon cleans up after walking through a Hazel Crest residence on June 14, 2013. Authorities are calling the single-family frame structure a hoarder home. | Donna Vickroy~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 22, 2013 7:01PM
A Hazel Crest woman had her day in court Thursday but she did not get the outcome she wanted, which was for the judge to vacate a previous order for police to search her home.
“It’s a moot point,” Judge Thomas Condon said. “The search has already been conducted.”
Instead, the woman left with instructions to clean up her single-family Hazel Crest residence within 45 days or face village intervention.
The woman was not home last Friday when Hazel Crest police acted on a warrant and entered the home on South Lincoln. They found piles of garbage, animal feces and mold, as well as birdcages filled with live birds, but covered in feces and mice carcasses.
Dressed in khaki capris, sandals and a sleeveless blouse, the woman stood before Condon at the Markham Court House and asked to be heard.
She explained that she realized the home, now shuttered, needed to be cleaned and that she had family and friends willing to help her do that. She also said she does not live in the residence.
“My house is basically a storage area,” she said, adding that she purposely stockpiled boxes and other items in a disorganized manner to keep thieves from finding or taking her belongings.
She said she has been alternating living with a daughter and a niece, but visiting the home every day.
She also claimed she was being targeted by village authorities for political reasons.
“I was aware of the state of my house,” she continued. “I had made plans with my family in December to clean it up this spring but the weather was so bad.”
On June 14, acting on instructions from the Hazel Crest police, village firefighters broke the lock on the front door to the woman’s home. They then donned oxygen masks and entered the home, followed by officer Sandy Solomon, village inspector Latoya Carraway and Cook County Animal Control wardens.
Police Chief Thomas Folliard said the forced entry “was a last resort.” He and other officials say they tried for four months to convince her to provide access to the home after numerous neighbor complaints about dogs.
Her attorney, Edgar Howard, founder of Christian Legal Services, said she is “a very credible and clean person.”
“These allegations are shocking,” he said.
His client, he said, is an animal lover who has a good relationship with her neighbors, although she admitted that fear of her neighbors’ motives are what prompted her to keep the frame gray/blue home in disarray. She concluded her testimony by saying, “I was never given due process.”
To which Condon replied, “Now you’ve got your notice. You have 45 days.”
Folliard said if the residence is not cleaned up and brought up to code in that time he will begin taking bids for cleaning services and will pay for that by putting a lien against the home.