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Letter: Not paying this unfair fine

Published: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 11:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 11:08 p.m. CDT

To the Editor:

This letter was not part of my game plan. I have two letters written to the people of DeKalb on what’s happening in our city and Crime Free Housing.

But this is just too salacious to avoid. For those who don’t know me, I’m a 41-year resident of DeKalb. Raised two sons, one graduating from NIU in 1991, another is a graduate of University of Illinois, college of business, accounting. I’m a retired English teacher with BA in the fine arts and master’s degree in library science. In DeKalb, I was active in church, scouts, PTA and politics (delegate for Reagan to 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit).

I’ve been in rental real estate for 35 years and been an owner/landlord in Greek Row since 1988.

Well, I ran into a “situation” with a Crime Free Housing inspector in February. One of my rental buildings had blistered and patches of paint were gone. I received a warning letter that within two weeks the building had to be painted or I’d be fined $50. Now you all know you can’t paint when the wind chill is minus 50 and it’s snowing. I wrote letters that I would paint when the weather broke. The building is now painted.

But I still was fined $50. There was no way I’d pay that fine. I was innocent of any wrongdoing.

So on Monday, I dutifully appeared at the city of DeKalb municipal building. I had almost 60 years on the 50 or so kids appearing in court. We were lined up like livestock going to slaughter, and one at a time, we met with an attorney hired by the city – who was just plain mad I wouldn’t pay the $50 fine.

“I’m innocent,” I told him, and I pled not guilty. The bench trial is June 16 at 10:30 a.m.

Then I appeared before Judge Ron Matekaitis. Last time I saw Ron, he was DeKalb City Attorney and I sold a 6,000-square-foot building for $250,000 (city annex) to the city in 1995. I was managing a fitness center in the building.

Quite an experience! But there’s a very sobering problem facing the city of DeKalb. The next letter will lay it out for you. The last letter will cover Crime Free Housing in DeKalb. You need to be informed on our “police state.”

Pat Bragg

Mayfield Township

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