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Hundreds of Glenview Families Losing Their Homes

Facing the loss of his family's home, one Sunset Village resident shares a last dispatch from the dilapidated and neglected mobile home park in this letter to the editor.

Here's my latest, and quite possibly my last report from Sunset Village: 

A politician once said that when your neighbor losses his job, it’s a recession but when you lose your job, it’s a depression. I can assure you the same goes for losing your home.

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I have been a resident at Sunset Village for nearly three years. brought upon the residents here during the reign of slumlord Richard Klarchek.

I thought that when he finally declared bankruptcy and was forced out that things would improve? However, our reprieve was short lived. We have gone from his dictatorship to having big banks like Lincoln Financial and MB Financial force the poorest of Klarcheks victims to subsidize or offset their misguided investment choices.

Like a pack of ravenous wolves they set upon our community and have torn up and devoured anything of value leaving nothing but waste, decay and despair in their wake. Worse still they come back often, each time hungrier than the time before.

Every hour of every day we live through the inability and ineffectiveness of our civic leaders and regulatory agencies to restore at least a modicum of safety and security to the residents here. And every week another family is forced out of their homes unable to keep up with the rising prices of purchasing drinking water, fixing constant flat tires and having their lot rents raised by as much as thirty percent overnight or any number of . They fear for their safety in a place with .

. I have lived in a lot of different places, but I’ve never had water that alternately stained clothes brown or bleached them until now. I am not too sure we should be bathing with it much less drinking it? As were the flooding problems and the nearly sixty year old water pipes and sewers that spew effluent and noxious gasses out from under our homes and down the streets with an Old Faithful like regularity.

The conditions here were well known to Loyola University when they accepted a ten million dollar gift from him too. That speaks volumes about their organizations leadership and charitable concerns. I would like to ask them the old refrain; “what would Jesus do?” But judging from their lack of concern as to the plight of their benefactors’ victims, they might not know who I was referring to.

Now the few residents that are left are trying in a desperate attempt to purchase the property as a resident owned cooperative where families can have clean drinking water and a stable home environment. But Lincoln Financial has discovered that by operating under a receivership and putting as little back into the property as possible while victimizing and pillaging the remaining residents from behind the guise of a court mandate they can net a tidy six figure profit each month on a property they will ultimately write down at the taxpayers expense, so why should they hurry to sell just for the sake of a few hundred poor families health and well being?

I have written to all our public officials numerous times,. And so as I come to the end of my personal ability to keep up the struggle here and teeter on the brink of financial devastation, it incenses me to hear about another agency, subcommittee, panel or fund being created to “help the working families” because we at Sunset Village are proof that they accomplish nothing other than to deliver just that many more patronage hogs to feed at the trough of the public largess, and the supposed recipients of their aid or protection are left to be victimized over and over again.

Dennis Glass the CEO of Lincoln Financial lives a fairly opulent lifestyle. Mitchell Feiger at MB Financial doesn’t lose sleep over what he has done to help accelerate and make worse the misery of Klarcheks victims. Steven Spinell the Receiver also seems to enjoy a fairly high standard of living by maximizing profits for multimillion dollar conglomerates at the expense of their poorest victims.

And of course, the most insidious purveyor of suffering, slumlord who despite causing the financial ruin and quite possibly the ill health of thousands of families across several states still has a multi-million dollar trust paying annuities and several large houses. No criminal charges, nothing but an interrupted golf game and minor changes to his social calendar. And all these individuals share one commonality; they go to great lengths to expound on their humanitarian endeavors and their self described consideration for those less fortunate.

Like executioners with a little pink hearts sewn into their black hoods, it’s of little comfort to their charges and a highly dubious measure of their benevolence.I can’t place all the blame on them. I am also to blame having elected to not pursue an education beyond high school. Consequently, my comprehension of protections (or lack thereof) afforded by contracts was woefully inadequate.But what about all the other victims? Who will be there for them? Another bureaucracy full of tin badge paper pushers? Baby kissing politicians that only come out to be re-elected? A legal system that’s only real precedent is to keep on keeping on?

For me, it doesn’t matter anymore. Unless I win the lottery this month my fate will be to join the hundreds before me losing my house to MB Financial and losing my only tangible investment asset to Lincoln Financial. But I guess there’s a bright side, the banks are making profits and paying back some of the billions of dollars we gave them as we afford them yet billions more in tax write offs for losses they helped to create. Maybe the CEO’s will get nice bonuses this year? Gee, I sure hope so….I’ll think about that when I am crammed into my old minivan with my family heading to who knows where?

Editor's note: In a previously published article, Richard Klarchek spoke on the record with Patch to defend his management and operation of Sunset Village while he owned the property. Read the full story

denise May 05, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Administrators of Glenview & Northfield Please show some leadership and ethics in our community. How can we help the poorest, elderly, and service providers in our community have a little dignity and security? Why not do something different that everyone could point to showing different communities, politicians and individuals being able to join together for the common good. It would be a refreshing change from finger pointing and lack of progress for all of our society. No matter what unless we all become a gated community, we will all be living together even though we may not be drinking the same water. Personally I think many individuals myself included would contribute $ to well lead advocacy from our leaders. My question: What could we do for this small community to help them clean up now and in the future? Pride comes with ownership. Is the answer take their only assets?
anita straus May 06, 2012 at 09:23 PM
As a Gelenview resident for 44 years, I feel for these people and the dispicable situation they find themselves in. They were mistreated and mishandled for years and I, for one, hope that our elected officials in this "wonderful" village we are supposed to live in. As a senior I donot have hugh funds but I cer4tainly would like to see that these people obtain the decent housing conditions that the rest of Glenview enjoys. Anita
chris May 09, 2012 at 08:14 PM
I am always heartened by the outpouring of support we get from the residents of of Glenview. But like any other community the village leadership measure their worth by per capita income and while they all talk of people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and incomes living in peace together (like we do at Sunset Village) the truth is, we're not really wanted in most peoples backyards. It's true, our houses have wheels under them, there aren't any five car garages containing luxury cars and most of us come home from work with dirt under our fingernails and don't wear suits. But, we belong to the same human family as the more affluent. Our kids aspire to be successful just like other kids and we plant flowers, decorate and take pride in our homes just like people who have expensive houses do. We are nearing the end of the line here at Sunset Village. Most residents have been forced out and less than 188 of us remain. Once that number reaches 150, there will be no chance of resident ownership and the property will no longer be self supporting causing a very rapid sale of the property, most likely for another use. At the current rate of attrition, that should occur by the end of summer. And so the village will have attained another premier corporate tenant and we will be a distant memory and someone else's problem.
anita straus August 02, 2012 at 03:45 PM
I believe that the Village of Glenview needs to step up and help Sunset Village. Most of these people need these homes, do not cause problemns and will lose their only tangible asset. I feel that the Village has gone beyond what they show themselves to be...I have lived here 44 years and until now have always been proud but I am terribly dissappojunted in the behavior of our Village board..Theybought the Dominicks site on Waukegan/Glenview Road, have empty stores all along the two/three blocks and keep talking about revitalizing the downtown..They are dreaming and are delusional because the small Mom/Pop businesses cannot thrive in this era of shopping centeras. We need a grocery store and drug store at that locale for those who donot drive. We have aging population living in those homes. The library is not the draw they envisioned in the way they thought would be the key. Glenview step us and do what is right for the entire Village. Help those in Sunset Park and get a plan that is realistic for the downtown.
chris August 24, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Anita is completely correct. And unfortunately, the old Dominicks site purchase was but one of several misguided investments by the village. Glen Town which received government funding and tax breaks paid dividends back to the community in wooden nickels having filed for bankruptcy protection. The Kohl Children's Museum which under the right circumstances might have become a major draw, hasn't exactly broken any records. Yet they obtained special deals and other incentives to relocate to Glenview. When you consider Delores and Senator Herb Kohls substantial wealth, you would think they would at least be behind Sunset Village in line for special treatment? I can predict that come March 2013 when everyone at Sunset Village lease has a year left, we will be given notice of its closure at the end of our lease (the minimum notice required by law.) And Glenview will be blessed with yet another half empty strip mall or transient residential hotel for corporate business travelers tying up traffic and leaving no clue as to who is or what type of people are coming in and out of your town.
chris December 13, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Unfortunately, the bank (Lincoln Financial) that holds the note on Sunset Village all but excluded the residents offer to purchase the park. A large mobile home operator has made the winning bid and the number of assets being ripped out of the park has increased at a phenomonal rate. So while they remove new housing stock, they are leaving behind old, dilapidated and unsecured mobile homes, nails, garbage, insulation and piles of lumber and debris in their place. For the remaining residents, it means more of the same neglect at higher prices. We fully expect the next operator to follow the same play book as most by bringing in cheap housing stock and offering "rent to own" opportunities to unscreened and unqualified buyers that will eventually lose those houses bringing huge turnover and (profits) to the operator while saddling the residents with more crime and neglect that comes with a transient community.

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