Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's inspector general has launched an investigation into a planned development in Robbins to construct a limestone quarry that would take 20 to 30 percent of the suburb's land through eminent domain.
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#45 Feb 3, 2014
A Scammers List Must be Compiled REFLECTING the participants and COMMUNITIES Affected.
#46 Feb 13, 2014
Sinkhole swallows pricey Corvettes at hallowed museum
(CNN)-- Sinkholes are swallowing Corvettes now. Last year it was houses in Florida, and on Wednesday nature gobbled up some of the coolest and fastest cars to come off the assembly line.
Eight valuable 'vettes at Bowling Green, Kentucky's National Corvette Museum fell victim to a 40-foot-wide, 20-foot-deep sinkhole that opened up in the facility's yellow Sky Dome wing. The museum unofficially estimates it caused millions of dollars in damage.
Motion detectors alerted security that something was amiss shortly after 5:30 a.m., said museum spokeswoman Katie Frassinelli. An employee who first walked into the room "has been in shock all day," she said.
"When you go in there, it's unreal," said Frassinelli. "The hole is so big, it makes the Corvettes look like little Matchbox cars."
The news triggered a collective worldwide gasp from the Corvette Nation.
"I was shocked," said Frazer Bharucha, 47, a Corvette owner since age 17. "We're talking about iconic cars that have been around for years."
Using remote-controlled drones, geologists and engineers from nearby Western Kentucky University have already explored the sinkhole and determined that the Sky Dome suffered no structural damage, Frassinelli said. "There's a cave down there," she said, adding that the museum is only a short drive away from Mammoth Cave National Park.
The damaged portion of the museum will be closed indefinitely, but the rest of the facility will be open as usual on Thursday, she said.
The painful losses have been tallied: Of the eight cars that fell, six were donated to the museum by Corvette enthusiasts, and two are owned by the car's maker, General Motors.
Here's the museum's list of cars that went down the hole:
-- a 1962 "Black Corvette"
-- a 1984 PPG pace car
-- a 2009 ZR1 "Blue Devil"
-- the 1992 white "1 Millionth Corvette"
-- a 1993 ruby red "40th Anniversary Corvette"
-- a 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 Corvette
-- the 2009 white "1.5 Millionth Corvette"
-- a 1993 ZR-1 Spyder
The total value of the damaged cars is substantial, said museum executive director Wendell Strode. Almost all the cars have been removed from the room. They've been setting up ramps to get the last one out," said Frassinelli. That remaining Corvette is suspended in a precarious position on a riser directly above the sinkhole.
Bharucha, of the Long Island Corvette Owners Association, knows the museum well, having visited it at least six times. "There's a sense of awe and you get a lump in your throat when you walk inside."
He's right. I've been there. It's hallowed ground. Under the Sky Dome's recognizable red spire and towering vaulted 100-foot high ceiling sits a round chamber that cradled rare vehicles, including Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 pace cars. The room feels like a cathedral. And for many enthusiasts, it is kind of the Church of the Corvette. It is home to more than 70 unique Corvettes, including several prototypes and a unique 1983 model -- the only one in existence.
Only 43 1983 Corvettes were manufactured before GM decided to scrap them and move on to the 1984 design. All were destroyed, except the one now housed at the museum. That car will likely go on display elsewhere in the museum, Frassinelli said, but the others from the damaged dome will be placed in storage.
Let's remember the Corvette's rich tradition. This is the ultra-cool car driven by Bill Bixby in the 1970s TV series, "The Magician." It also was the cherry ride that was good enough to be piloted by the dudes with the right stuff: NASA's Apollo astronauts.
"It's the all-American car," Bharucha said. "No matter where you go, people know it and love it. Sometimes they'll stare at it. Other times they'll wave."
You always remember your first car, and Bharucha is no different. For him it was a 1966 yellow Corvette convertible. Guess what? He still has it. "That's my baby," he said. "That's the one car I will not sell."
#47 Feb 13, 2014
#48 Feb 13, 2014
#49 Feb 14, 2014
Sink holes are a nightmare for human beings and pricey corvettes both swallowed up with no distinction between the two.
#50 Jun 14, 2014
Who is the Attorney for Robbins, Illinois, He needs sanctions.
Robbins residents urged to keep fighting quarry/mine plan
By Nick Swedberg Correspondent June 12, 2014
About 200 people filled an elementary school cafeteriRobbins Thursday evening hear from Cook County Sheriff's Department officials who urged residents
About 200 people filled an elementary school cafeteria in Robbins Thursday evening to hear from Cook County Sheriff's Department officials, who urged residents to stay alert in fighting a controversial project to create a limestone quarry and mine in the village.
The contract signed by Robbins officials regarding a controversial project to create a limestone mine and quarry in the village was illegal, and residents should stay organized if they want to prevent the project, Cook County Sheriffs Department representatives said Thursday.
About 200 people turned out for the community meeting, most strongly opposed to the project, to hear about the findings from an investigation by the department that concluded that the proposed mine and quarry was not in the best interests of the village or its residents.
Sheriff Tom Dart told the crowd that the inquiry, which ended in January, found several ethical issues and perhaps criminal violations surrounding the project.
Dart said a notable one was that about $5,000 in political contributions were made to Robbins Trustee Shantiel Simons political committee in 2012 from companies and an employee connected to the developers manager. Simon also admitted to investigators that he no longer lived in Robbins, which disqualifies him from being on the village board.
A copy of the investigative report was forwarded to the Cook County states attorneys office for its review and possible criminal charges, Dart said.
A year ago, Robbins trustees approved a contract with Riverside-based ALM Resources to create a limestone quarry on 60 acres, followed by a 169-acre underground mine and asphalt and concrete plants. More than 50 homes would need to be acquired for the project.
A SouthtownStar story weeks later revealed the massive development, creating a major controversy in the village and drawing the interest of Dart and others in his department. In November, Dart announced his investigation and urged village officials to delay the project in light of various concerns about the contract and project plan.
Village trustees voted Nov. 26 to halt the project, pending the results of the sheriffs departments inquiry, and it has been on hold since. Dart said Thursday that it was unlikely that ALM Resources would try to proceed under the current contract.
In our opinion, based on our investigation, it wasnt a legal contract, said Cara Smith, a top aide to Dart.
A new contract between ALM and Robbins would need to start from scratch and involve a higher degree of transparency as it is drafted, Smith said.
A community group, United Citizens of Robbins, organized Thursdays meeting, and members indicated they would make sure that residents are better informed regarding the project from this point on. They said another public meeting will be held in several weeks for residents to hear from a geologist and an economist from the University of Illinois.
They will speak about what minerals are beneath homes that may be affected by a quarry and what those materials are worth, said Sharon Doyle of United Citizens of Robbins.
Were hoping they (residents) will get pretty charged up again to fight the proposed development, Doyle said.
#51 Jun 27, 2014
With quarry deal in rubble, company considers next move
By Mike Nolan June 25, 2014
Robbins trustees have voted to undo a complex agreement with a company that had proposed mining and quarrying limestone in the village, leaving the firm to ponder its next move.
A representative of ALM Resources which also planned on building concrete and asphalt plants as well as a horse ranch said the company was willing to talk with village officials in an effort to salvage the agreement, approved a year ago.
Paul Stewart, a consultant to ALM, said the company believes it still has a legally binding contract with the village to pursue the project. He said ALM wasnt given notice that trustees would be voting Tuesday on the matter, and that it was a little disconcerting the company hadnt been given an opportunity to address concerns about the development.
He said ALM remains prepared to sit down with the village and discuss the concerns in order to figure out a solution.
Stewart said ALM had not heard from village officials following the vote, nor had the company tried to contact anyone from Robbins.
Robbins Mayor Tyrone Ward on Wednesday did not return a call seeking comment.
The SouthtownStar, in a series of stories that began last summer, first detailed the extent of ALMs plans. Along with a 60-acre quarry, the company planned a 169-acre mine that would extract limestone from under dozens of homes. More than 50 homes would need to be bought and razed for the project, which was touted as being a way of bringing much-needed revenue to the impoverished community.
Movement on those plans was halted late last year after Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart began an investigation of the agreement between the village and ALM.
A report completed earlier this year said Darts investigation has made clear that the interests of the residents of Robbins were not protected nor were they the focus of the negotiations, and that the agreement wasnt a legal document.
Dart said that negotiations should start over from square one, but Stewart said he could not say whether ALM would agree to that.
“2nd Time Trying Topix Account”
Since: Jun 14
#52 Jun 27, 2014
How ironic a business would be complaining through the media that they somehow were thwarted from "addressing concerns" about the development while they are being outed with piles of evidence they were not willing to the community an opportunity to state their concerns to both the company and their village officials.
Robbins is one of the older suburbs in the southwest suburbs and it still is targeted by offerings of seemingly large scale manufacturing ideas and notions, with intent on relegating the resident and small business owner to the position of side-thought. Although the real estate in Robbins has a similar history as surrounding communities as referenced by the first mayor of Robbins in a document he wrote about certain areas having a tendency to flood.
In many ways, technology has caught up enough to address a variety of flooding issues in Robbins and it still has its own ability to create what most should construe to be that of positive memories
How about we sit on the lime for a little longer? No municipality needs to rely on manufacturing alone to bring tax income into the community. Removal of the lime has an exhaustion point. Then what? What are the projected demands for limestone of varying degrees? How do these demands influence the marketplace potential? Is it so unique in its composition it is valued at an extremely reachable rate or it needs to be priced in an upper price bracket for such a commodity?
I don't think I am offering up any really unique thoughts as it relates to the project and it is important to note the residents of Midlothian, Crestwood and Markham would be influenced by such a decision. Although final determination may rest in the hands of Robbins, this isn't a project deserving of room or latitude with its blind-siding of the general population of a community via a news report. That came from the village also.
The same village that will broadcast its board meetings on the public access station but leave all meeting minutes, agendas and the municipal code book absent from both paper and online form.
#53 Jun 27, 2014
And.......the developer had NO EXPERIANCE, NO CAPITAL, and was running his business out of his CONDO.
#54 Jun 28, 2014
The sheriffs investigation states that ALM Resources and Robbins Renaissance Construction, two companies Louthen runs, donated $4,500 to Simons failed mayoral campaign in 2013. Louthen instructed Robbins Renaissance bookkeeper Cynthia Crane to give $800 to Simons campaign, and the company later reimbursed her in violation of Illinois election law, the report says.
ALM Resources manager Jim Louthen who the SouthtownStar previously reported is being sued by First Midwest Bank after defaulting on a $350,000 loan told sheriffs investigators that he does not now have the financing for the project, according to the report.
Chicago attorney Don Kreger represented the village for free during negotiations on the redevelopment agreement, but its unclear why or how Kreger was selected, according to the report. Kreger could not be reached for comment.
“2nd Time Trying Topix Account”
Since: Jun 14
#55 Jun 28, 2014
Here's a few more questions:
Who has conducted (a) survey(s) of the limestone deposit in Robbins?
Wasn't this be a known asset/liability of the village and/or the engineering company contracted by the village or was this really a surprise discovery made by ALM Resources and then brought to the attention of village officials?
What was the market price for the quality and grade of Robbins limestone at the time of the first discussion? Throughout the negotiation process? Surely the marketplace has not so quickly forgotten the Libor litigation, the fixing of municipal bonds, etc.?
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