An 18-year court battle between the city of Gary and a local auto parts business ended with a change of judge earlier this month.
The city first filed a complaint against Andy’s Truck and Equipment Co. in 2005 during Rudy Clay’s mayoral administration. He said the company’s salvage yard on West 11th Avenue violated environmental laws and created a public nuisance. Andy Young, of Wadsworth, Illinois, owns and operates the business, and uses the property to store vehicles and vehicle parts. The site was zoned and the remainder was zoned for limited manufacturing rather than landfill use, and Young did not obtain a city-issued business permit to operate at the West 11th Avenue site.
In July 2007, Lake Superior Court Judge Calvin D. Hawkins ordered Young to cease operating the business and stop storing vehicle parts at the location. The dispute lasted until 2009, after which the matter lay dormant for more than ten years.
According to Gary City Attorney Rodney Paul, the city’s law department appears to have lost the court order during the transition between the Clay administration and his successor, Karen Freeman Wilson, who took office in 2012. Before learning about Hawkins’ order, Paul filed a series of complaints against Young and his businesses in Geary. He explained that he learned about the order while doing research on cases involving young people and started talking to the former city prosecutor who had been following up on the case in the past.
In the year The city settled the dispute in September 2022 when it filed a motion asking the court to enforce the 15-year-old order.
Andy’s Truck and Equipment Co. on April 21 in court. At the hearing, Judge Hawkins repeatedly said Gary resident Young’s failure to comply with the court order was a personal attack.
“My concern is that the city, which means me, has to pay my taxes to keep my stuff moving and he’s going to get off scot-free and laugh in Illinois,” Hawkins said of Young. Copy to court.
In another instance, Hawkins called Young a “carpet bag.” The young man was angered by the judge’s comments.
“I’ve been in Gary for a few years,” Young told the Post-Tribune. “I care more about the elected official than I care about that city.”
During the proceedings, Hawkins seemed to realize that his comments could be grounds for moving the juvenile trial.
Hawkins told Young’s attorney, William Logger, “I better calm down, or you all are going to be asking for a change of judge, because I can’t just sit by while my city is still being torn apart.” different”
The parties agreed to hold a series of monthly meetings to discuss progress in complying with Young’s order, the first of which will be held on May 23.
On May 17, a large group of city workers descended on the 11th Avenue site. Gary police took photos of the vehicles and officers from the city’s law, code enforcement, fire and environmental affairs departments searched the property for ordinance violations and found “dozens of possible ones,” according to a city news release. Gary Mayor Jerome Prince, who led a series of public cleanup efforts while in office, made the enforcement move as good as his campaign promise.
“Even before I took office, I knew that cleaning up our city was critical to making Gary safer for our families and businesses,” he wrote in the news release. “We are committed to holding people accountable for their negative behavior in our city.”
Young, who has been highly critical of Prince’s administration, said he believed the city’s renewed bid to enforce the court order was personal.
“This is a coordinated attack,” he said. This is all part of their game plan.
On May 22, the day before Young’s next court date, Logger filed a motion to change the judge. Citing court comments made by Hawkins during the May 21 hearing, Young said the company could not receive a fair trial in Hawkins’ court.
Hawkins granted the request for a change of judge and canceled the May 23 court date. The parties did not agree on a new judge before the May 29 deadline to do so. Paul told the Post-Tribune that he plans to file a motion to appoint a new judge “so we can move this along as quickly as possible.”
“He could be held in contempt and thrown in jail right now for not doing what the court ordered him to do years ago,” Paul said of Young. However, he stated that this is not the city’s goal. He said he and the city administration would simply like to see the site cleaned up.
Young, on the other hand, said that he and his staff are carrying out the order.
“We used to remove all kinds of scrap metal. We were doing general cleaning,” he said. “We don’t have a big team, but everyone is responsible for cleaning the place and they are making good progress.”
The City of Gary has yet another lawsuit against Young. On May 16, Garry Corporation Counsel Angela Lockett filed two separate nuisance complaints against Young and the two other auto salvage businesses he owns, 840 Broadway LLC and Surplus Management Systems LLC. Both complaints concern the improper storage of vehicles and vehicle parts in violation of the city’s zoning ordinance.