A local businessman threatened legal action against Yorkville over a $950 fine for an allegedly dilapidated fence after calling Mayor Gary Golinski a bully at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Dan Nicholson, of , suggested his fine was connected with his refusal to sell his property at 206 Heustis St. to one of Golinski’s friends.
Golinski denied the ordinance violation had political undertones or was connected to a potential property sale. Nicholson is listed in state election records as the treasurer for former Mayor Valerie Burd’s campaign committee; Golinski beat her by in the April election.
“I am not a bully; that can be your headline,” Golinski said to local media during a break in Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “… Last I heard, he was asking $4 million. None of my friends have that kind of money.”
When asked if business owner Rick Tollefson, who is involved with other downtown projects, had shown interest in Nicholson’s property, Golinski indicated that Tollefson had looked at most of downtown at one time or another.
“It’s a mess down there,” Golinski said of the site at 206 Heustis St. “All he has to do is clean it up.”
During public comment, Nicholson said he was discussing the matter publicly since Golinski refused to meet with him privately. (Golinski said he did not remember receiving a meeting invitation.)
“My business supports not only myself, my daughters, my 89-year-old mother, my nieces, my nephew and even my ex-wife,” Nicholson said. “When you attack my business as you have done, you’re also attacking them and what sustains them.
“Don’t be surprised at the veracity of my response,” Nicholson said, beginning to address city attorney Kathleen Field-Orr. “Ms. Orr, I’m about to make you a very busy and wealthy woman.”
The matter isn’t over. City staff said Nicholson has until Nov. 7 to fix the dilapidated fence. He was given that deadline and fined $950 after he failed to appear at a Sept. 28 adjudication hearing, said Krysti Barksdale-Noble, Yorvkille’s community development director.
City officials had discussed the dilapidated fence, weeds and other problems on the property with him in May and sent him a letter about the property July 20, Barksdale-Noble said.
Then, city staff discussed the problems with him during inspections on Aug. 24 and Aug. 26 before sending him a ticket for the fence on Aug. 29. His fine represents $100 in court costs plus a $25 fine per day for 34 days, Barksdale-Noble said.
Barksdale-Noble said she had not received any direction from Golinski to pursue ordinance violations on Nicholson’s property, nor had she received numerous complaints about the property from other residents.
Rather, the city’s former code inspector had made some efforts to address the situation before he was among , she said. The new part-time code enforcement officer was being a little more proactive – in some instances looking for ordinance violations without receiving a public complaint.
“I’m just doing my job,” Barksdale-Noble said.