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The Final Chapter From Sunset Village

As families leave the mobile park one by one due to unsanitary living conditions and sky-rocketing living costs, one resident shares the community's story of struggle.

Dear Editor,

This will be my final report from as we and many other residents are planning to discontinue paying our lot fee’s and mortgages and extending out the foreclosure and eviction processes through litigation for as long as possible so that we may save up enough to move.

It seems like a bad thing to do, but it’s no worse than what these lenders like MB Financial, Lincoln Financial and Village Officials and Legislators have done or allowed to happen to the residents here for a very long time.

It should give everyone in Glenview great pause to consider that despite notifying every congressman, senator, village official, regulative agency and anyone else about the abhorrent and dangerous conditions in our community that several years later and in some instances, decades later, things have not improved.

It’s even more disheartening that some of the officials contacted numerous times that have done absolutely nothing still bill themselves as advocates for working families? Senator Dick Durbin responds with form letters addressing causes and issues completely unrelated to the plight of the residents here.

Robert Dold had an intern call and pledge to do something, to date they’ve done nothing. Mark Kirk, where are you? Daniel Biss while extremely communicative and assuring wasn’t able to do anything. Governor Pat Quinn completely absent, Lisa Madigan, Anita Alverez, Toni Preckwinkle, the list goes on and on.

You assume because they are so far removed from their constituency that there would be a better response from local officials? Well, the response from Todd Hileman, and other village officials has been to tell us that they’re incapable of doing anything.

The first excuse was because the park is private property. The second excuse was because of the parks bankruptcy. That should scare the heck out of anyone in Glenview! Under those parameters it means a person could open a restaurant or a nursing home in Glenview (which would be private property) and/or file a bankruptcy petition which would exclude them from having to comply with health, fire or safety rules, sanitation, licenses or anything else meant to ensure the general public’s well-being.

Our community has The village and others have known this since before the park went into receivership. Our water is irradiated and was often times polluted. This has been the case since slumlord owned the park and the village was well aware of this as well as the lack of working street lights, raw sewage running down the streets and numerous other hazards. They made precursory and feeble attempts at litigation meant more for public relations than to actually resolve the issues or protect the residents.  

For the last year we have been blessed with the humanitarian stewardship of Steven Spinell/Kinzie Group. Perhaps the self-described Mahatma Gandhi of court appointed property managers?

I mean after all, having to drink irradiated water means we save money on light bulbs and have little need for streetlights? Having potholes so deep allows us to order authentic Chinese food by merely shouting down into the holes? I guess it’s all a matter of perception? Raw sewage running down the streets? Abundant mineral springs! Stray cats and dogs, skunks and raccoon infestations? Why that’s “nature at your back door!” Dead and dying trees waiting to fall on your house? Natural Forest Conservancy!

The sad truth of the matter is that it costs us nearly $2000 a month to live here. For many of us, that represents a large portion of our incomes. And besides raising our lot rents by nearly $300 after the bankruptcy, the ancillary costs of living here like buying bottled water and repairing tires have and continue to rise and price a lot of us right out of here every month.

If you ever wanted to see the effectiveness of the myriad of departments, groups, and bureaucracies your ever-increasing tax dollars pay for in Illinois, take a trip through Sunset Village.

I guess what we really need are more consumer protection departments and regulations (and of course, tax increases) to go along with the thousands we already have that don’t enforce anything? But that's up to you now. I am leaving Vice City and the best view of Sunset Village will be from my rearview mirror.

- Chris Iosello
Sunset Village Resident

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Mike Vilches July 18, 2012 at 02:11 PM
We at Sunset Village have some upsetting news. I have been told that a veteran and a longtime resident of Sunset Village (40+ years) is going to move out of his home. He has been trying to stay in Sunset Village but the exorbitant lot fees and bad water have taken its toll on him and he has to move to a retirement home where it’s going to be cheaper to live. This is a sad day for me personally as he is one of my neighbors and a good guy. My family and I have had him over for dinner, sat outside with him on warm spring days and listened to his various stories. I wish he could stay and continue to be part of this community, I know that his presence has had a positive influence on my family and neighbors. This is just another example of the wake of destruction caused by the poor management of the former owner and all of the continuing bureaucracy. Unlike his unwavering service to his country his country has surely failed him.
chris July 18, 2012 at 04:15 PM
That's absolutely disgusting! How many people have to have their lives destroyed and their finances decimated to assure Lincoln Financial and MB Financial make a profit from their poor business practices? How many more of slumlord Richard Klarcheks victims will fade into poverty because elected officials and regulatory agencies failed (deliberately) to act even though they were well aware of the ongoing abuses here? It's time these people were held to account for their malfeasance or worse. This is why a fine gentleman put his life on the line, serving his country? To be pushed out penniless and threadbare? There's a special corner of hell reserved for people like Richard Klarchek, Dennis Glass and Mitchell Feiger. And no ten million dollar gift to Loyola will absolve them of their sins!
Jody Duffin August 03, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Winnetka, You are either ignorant and misinformed or you just don't care to learn the truth! As a former resident, taxpaying citizen with a bachelor's degree, and a completely self-sufficient one with no government assistance, I think that it is horrible that you think that it is okay for people to endure hell for $1600 a month rent. I make too much money for any of your so-called handouts and have been paying taxes since I was old enough to work. We were all suckers for a supposed "beautiful place to live and raise children" only later to discover that Mr. Klarchek and family can live the high life by breaking the laws and the backs of law abiding citizens who are paying a pretty penny to live in what looks like Tijuana slums. I know that there are decent people who believe in justice and have a moral compass in this area and I am embarrassed to have you speak for all of "Winnetka" as I have met some nice people with a conscience here. I ask you to research how many laws were broken here and how many turned a blind eye to this situation. You are right, this IS America and we should be treated like humans and not like feces! Radium in the water, raw sewage in the streets, non-working fire hydrants, narrow streets that emergency vehicles cannot use to save peoples lives- and you want to discuss a mouse and cookie? Really? Our education system really has gone to crap if you are one of it's products. Do your homework before making stupid comments please!
chris August 23, 2012 at 12:45 PM
UPDATE AUGUST 21 In what was either a heartless business decision or a direct attempt at intimidation an auction company paraded around our park for five hours blaring a loudspeaker and leading dozens of bidders through the park with police escorts, selling homes for as little as $16,000 while holding mortgages on our homes for $120,000! I wonder what the reaction would be if this type of Pogrom was conducted in an affluent neighborhood? Seeing people ride around in a windowed "pope mobile" bidding on and adding to our fear and misery from air conditioned comfort? If it happened anywhere else, it would be a disturbance of the peace, but as it happens the police were here protecting the auctioneer and the vultures with more law enforcement presence in one day than we have seen here in three years.
chris December 13, 2012 at 07:33 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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