Englewood resident and watchdog Theresa Jones got new neighbors a few weeks ago: bags and bags of garbage. Like any rotten neighbor, the trash attracted squatters—rats big and mischievous enough to trip Jones’ home security alarms and leave “droppings on her daughter’s bed.” That was the last straw for Jones. The BGA and FOX Chicago News’ Dane Placko report:
CHICAGO—Cleanup crews began removing bags of garbage and piles of yard waste from two vacant lots in the Englewood neighborhood on Monday. But neighbors said that—ironically—the cleanup crews are the same people who dumped the garbage in the first place.
Air Force veteran Theresa Jones bought a house next door a year ago. She said that last summer, the city left piles of tree debris on the vacant lot, which then began accumulating garbage. Then a couple weeks ago, she said a man showed up with his crew and began dumping bags of garbage and yard waste onto both empty lots.
“They were bringing garbage over and when they saw me taking pictures they got belligerent, called me names,” Jones said. “I said, ‘I’m taking pictures because I pay taxes here. I’m a resident here. And just because this is Englewood doesn’t mean you can come here and trash the place.'”
Shortly after the garbage arrived, so did the rats—some so big they tripped her home’s security alarm and left droppings on her daughter’s bed.
Jones said when the crew returned over the weekend to dump more garbage on the lot, she called the police.
“They said we can’t do anything about it—he has the paperwork,” said Jones.
She assumed the dumper had a permit, but then he told her he owned the property and he could do whatever he wanted with it. Jones had enough, and sent out an e-mail blast to city agencies and news media, which may have prompted Monday’s cleanup.
We tracked down the apparent dumper/owner, Kato Tamras, and he refused to talk.
Jones said she’d asked him if he would dump garbage like this next to his own house.
“He said, ‘Oh well, I don’t have a lot next to my house,” she said.
Indeed, we found nothing but pristine property surrounding the Tamras family’s massive home in Lincolnwood. Unlike Englewood, nobody was dumping garbage there.
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