ROGERS PARK — The city slammed the developer of the former Adelphi Theatre site and his contractor for illegal dumping over the holiday week.
As contractors hired by Jason Vondrachek worked to fill in a hole left by a failed condo development, the city impounded a truck and dealt out four tickets — two to Vondrachek's company and two to the contractor — for illegally dumping dirt.
Ben Woodard explains why the city stopped the dump:
Despite the tickets and the city's claims, Vondrachek denies any wrongdoing.
"We were not illegally dumping anything," he said Monday in an email, adding that some dirt was hauled into the site from elsewhere to help fill the hole. But he said it was all legal and that the city had requested the foundation be removed when he bought the property.
He said the accusations of illegal dumping were "slanderous."
But Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said this wasn't the first time Vondrachek had been cited for "illegal dumping" there.
"Vondrachek was fined nearly $10,000 last May for dumping illegal fill at the same property," Moore said in a statement. "He was also cited for engaging in demolition work without a permit and a 'stop work' order was issued against him."
Moore said Vanderchek then applied for a new demolition permit for the properties' other address, at 1767 W. Estes Ave., to avoid the stop-work order.
Cristina Villarreal, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Public Health, said in an email Vondrachek had been issued citations in March and June for illegal dumping and other violations.
"Each time the owner defaulted on the tickets, so the maximum fines were assessed, totaling $16,500," she said.
Villarreal said he was issued another round of tickets on Nov. 14.
"Because of the lack of cooperation from the property owner, we are considering other enforcement options, such as issuance of a cease and desist order," she said.
Vondrachek, owner of Quest Reality Group, bought the lot last year that was home to the now-razed Adelphi Theater. The property had been untouched since 2008 when a condo development failed, leaving a giant hole in the ground and an unfinished foundation.
For years neighborhood residents have complained about the property as an eyesore and safety hazard.
Vondrachek had planned to build a three-story, 20-unit apartment building with retail space there, but killed the plans after he said he felt "hostility" from Moore. (Moore said he had concerns with Vondrachek over another property he owned nearby.)
"One can only wonder where the animus comes from," Vondrachek said. "We have pulled our plans to do anything with the site for now."
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