Friday, August 28, 2009

My Complaint Heard - Judge Joe Vespa Presiding - Part 2

I filled my complaint in Small Claims Court against the City of Peoria in June, 2009 asking for $500 plus expenses. I had to pay $108 plus serving costs. Expenses, I learned, do no include attorney fees. City Attorney Sonni Williams appeared before Judge Vespa but Williams asked that the hearing be deferred. I objected but to no avail. Vespa set a new hearing date and at that hearing Vespa determined that my description of where the accident took place was wrong since I wrote "on" E. Lake Ave. instead of on E. Lake Ave. right of way. Over the objection of the city attorney, Judge Vespa continued the hearing to July 31 so I could "collect my thoughts" and file an amended complaint.

On advice of attorney I was told to go to the City of Peoria's Public Works Department and get a legal description of the location of the hole. I was told Ken Andrejasich, Right of Way Permit Engineer, was the person to see. After waiting more than an hour, I was told by Mr. Andrejasich that I needed permission from Ms. Williams before he could talk with me. Ms. Williams said she needed a letter from me detailing my need to see this Engineer. She allowed me to hand write a request and said she would get back to me the following week. When I did not hear from her, I delivered another letter (Exhibit 5 in my amended complaint) and retained a copy stamped RECEIVED by the Legal Dept. July 15, 2009.

Time was running out for me to file an amended complaint so I again contacted the engineer who now said I could talk with him but what I hit "was not on city property, but on county property", denying me a legal description of the property but giving me a map showing property lines but not the location of what now was determined to be a "a storm water inlet". I took this to the County Highway Superintendent who looked it up and said it was not on County Property but was on City property giving me a letter so stating. I now had evidence that it was not on County property, not owned by the Sanitary District and not on private property.

But I still did not have a legal description. As a last resort, I contacted the Planning and Zoning Dept. of Peoria County. They provided me with a GIS photo showing where city lines separated this city right of way where the storm water inlet was located, from private property.

In the interim, I received an affidavit from David Haste of the City of Peoria saying that while the city MAINTAINED the right of way where the storm water inlet was located, that area was not "intended and permitted" for private use. Despite the fact that this inlet was and still is on the paved section of the exit from the mall to Lake; the scarring showing it had been hit many times over the years.

I received an email from Dave Voorhees stating that he had just recently hit this "storm water inlet" doing considerable damage to his vehicles. I received two phone calls from people who also had damage to their vehicles by hitting this same 12inch deep hole. Too late for me to get this information in my complaint.

I'll move to my third day in court.

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