A look at relevant events at Cherry Orchard apartment complex, south of Rantoul, Ill. For related story, please visit www.cu-citizenaccess.org or www.will.illinois.edu Sources: CU-CitizenAccess.org, Illinois Public Media, Champaign County court documents, Champaign County Recorder's documents, News-Gazette, Rantoul Press
Created by cucitizenaccess on Apr 3, 2011
Last updated: 05/03/11 at 04:48 PM
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Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department officials report that the property continues to be occupied Advertisements for rental property with Bernard Ramos’ cell phone number continue to be broadcast on a Rantoul-area Spanish language radio station. Source: Interviews with county public health officials
Ramoses fail to meet with state fire marshal officials, who were scheduled to inspect the interior apartment units at Cherry Orchard. The inspection had been rescheduled twice before. Despite this, officials inspect the complex’s exterior, and find unsafe handrails and broken windows. Trial is rescheduled for April 6. Source: News reports
Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department hosts a meeting with social service agencies and community leaders to discuss how to help remaining residents at Cherry Orchard; about a dozen tenants move from the apartments following the meeting
Source: News reports; interviews with public health officials March 2011
Second foreclosure notice is filed (case #2011CH010) Bench trial is rescheduled until Feb. 28 Champaign County officials forward nuisance complaint to the Champaign County State’s Attorney for prosecution after the Ramoses fail to make repairs under the county’s new amended nuisance ordinances Source: Court case #10OV000148
Despite the verbal agreement, the Ramoses fail to clear out the buildings by the deadlines. Two of the five buildings remain occupied. The case is scheduled for a bench trial in January. A former tenant reports that the Ramoses shut off power and water to her building in an effort to get tenants out. The tenant finds a temporary place to live but leaves her belongings behind. When she goes to get them, she said the Ramoses refuse to let her have them. Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department officials help her remove her belongings and find a new place to live. Source: Court case #10OV000148 and interview with Hermelinda Cruz, 51, March 2011
The Ramoses agree to vacate five buildings in the apartment complex as part of a verbal resolution with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department by Dec. 20. They agree to vacate two of the buildings by Dec. 3 The Ramoses’ attorney withdraws from the case, citing lack of payment and lack of communication. Source: Court case #10OV000148
Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department hires Schoonover Sewer Services Inc. to locate the sewer and septic system flow at the property.Sewage from six of the eight buildings is discovered to be discharging into an adjacent farmer’s field. Source: Court file - case # 10OV000148
Champaign County amends its nuisance ordinance based on conditions at Cherry Orchard. The revised ordinance better defines dangerous structures and habitability codes.
Souce: Champaign County Planning and Zoning Department
Bernard Ramos is convicted of renting a condemned apartment in Champaign and sentenced to 60 days of jail time and a $1,000 fine. He serves 30 days.
The Ramoses hire Gulliford Septic Service to run cameras through the sewer and septic systems but does not allow the company to verify if the system is legally connected to a private or public sewer system The company finds a blockage after 10 feet. The Ramoses later repair the blockage without a construction permit and without a valid license as a private sewage disposal system installation contractor Source: Champaign County Circuit Clerk document #10OV000148
Several tenants complain to the media about living conditions, such as roach infestation and broken furnaces, after power to the property is shut off for lack of payment.
Source: Rantoul Press; News-Gazette
First foreclosure notice is filed (case # 2009CH000206) Source: Champaign County Circuit Clerk; Champaign County Recorder's Office
County board members, Rantoul city officials and Champaign County officials tour Cherry Orchard; however, due to the then county ordinances, little can be done to improve living conditions.
Source: News reports; Champaign County board meeting
Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department issues a third violation notice after the Ramoses fail to correct the violations and refers case to the Office of the Champaign County State’s Attorney for enforcement
Evelyn Ramos buys Cherry Orchard south of Rantoul for $225,000; takes out a mortgage for $191,250 Bernard Ramos and his father, Eduardo Ramos, manage the property Source: Champaign County Recorder's Office document #2007R27523
Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department issues first violation notice after an inspection and informs the Ramoses that they need to legally connect the septic system and sanitary sewer within 30 days. An initial inspection finds that the “defendants discharge domestic sewage and wastewater on a daily basis into the environment.”
Thomasboro Grade School sees increase in enrollment from the children of migrant workers who live at the property. Source: Rantoul Press news report