Cicero’s former president is suing the town he used to run, alleging officials there have conspired to demolish his family’s home in an act of political retribution.
Former President Ramiro Gonzalez, who was booted from office in 2005, is seeking an injunction to block the village from demolishing a home he owns in the 3600 block of South 61st Ave., according to a suit filed in Cook County Circuit Court Thursday.
Gonzalez, who voters ousted in favor of Larry Dominick, alleges his replacement issued a stop-work order on home renovations that were already approved and underway shortly after he took office in 2005.
Since that time, Dominick and other village officials have “issued countless tickets on [Gonzalez’s] property and continued to deny ... building permit requests without good cause,” Gonzalez’ lawyer, former Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica, wrote in the court document.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez’ family has been forced to live elsewhere while their home renovations have been blocked by officials, including Dominick and building commissioner Tom Tomschin, the suit alleges.
“Ramiro Gonzalez is a political rival of ... Larry Dominick and has spoken out against [him] on several occasions,” the suit notes.
Most recently, a demolition notice was finally posted on the home ”without good cause” on Feb. 7, according to a copy of the notice supplied with the court filing.
Dominick spokesman Ray Hanania denied politics was at play. Instead, Hanania said Gonzalez undertook a project that he later abandoned, creating an eyesore filled with stagnant water that has become and public health hazard.
Furthermore, Gonzalez has not paid property taxes on the home and upwards of $90,000 in tickets issued for building code violations, Hanania said.
“From our standpoint it’s not about political retribution, it’s about a house [Gonzalez] was going to build, never finished it and abandoned,” Hanania said. “Our view is that it’s an eyesore and danger to the community.”
In the suit, Gonzalez claims he made a good faith effort to continue with his renovations -- a project that was approved under his administration -- but has been stymied at every step since he left office.
Gonzalez is asking for the demolition order to be lifted against his home and the necessary permits to be issued in order to complete construction, according to the suit. He also seeks reimbursement for court and attorney’s fees.
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