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  1. #1
    Senior Member crazybird's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Joliet, Il

    Joliet resident fears building codes may force his family fr

    Joliet resident fears building codes may force his family from home

    Jon Mersereau and his 16-year-old daughter, Maggie, take a break as they fix the porch of their Cora Street home. Joliet is requiring them to make $35,000 in repairs to their house.

    By Brian Stanley
    Staff Writer

    JOLIET As many people begin their careers, they often dream of one day owning a home.

    Seventy-one-year-old John Mersereau is getting ready to re-enter the workforce so he can keep his.

    The former sewage treatment worker retired three years ago after spending 20 years with the DuPage County Department of Public Works. Prior to that, he worked as an industrial chemist and a product tester.

    Mersereau, his legally blind wife, Lois, and the couple's daughter, Maggie, who has a learning disability, live on John's pension, earnings from a small IRA and some disability benefits. Since May of 1988, the family has lived in a two-story house on Cora Street.

    Earlier this spring, property maintenance evaluators from the city of Joliet sent a multipage list of improvements that needed to be made on the property, including repairs to the roof and front porch.

    "I think the first letter said I needed to have everything done in two weeks," said John Mersereau.
    "I called and told them I'd fix what I could, but I can't possibly do all this in less than a month."

    Mersereau said property maintenance evaluator Amy Balsley told him it was his responsibility to get the repairs done.

    Mersereau hired his daughter's friends to do some painting and repaired what he was able to by himself.

    "I tried to do some of it myself, but I'm only one guy here, and I'm 71 years old. There are some things I'm just not able to get to anymore," he said.

    Mersereau received follow-up letters from the city, including one on May 19 signed by Balsley stating if the property wasn't built into compliance immediately, the city would take legal action.

    When contacted to find out what legal action the city would take against the Mersereaus, Balsley told The Herald News evaluators do not speak to anyone other than property owner. She referred calls to her boss, Joyce Toso.

    Toso did not return calls for comment.

    Three different contractors provided Mersereau with estimates for the major repairs, which average around $35,000.

    Loren Meisinger, the family's adviser at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, contacted local seniors organizations and the Joliet City Council liaison to see if there was a way to find financial assistance for the repairs, but was unsuccessful.

    "I'm surprised there's no government agency out there to give them a little assistance," said Meisinger. "They aren't asking for someone else to pay for the whole thing. Here's a guy who's 71, and he's willing to work."

    "We've always paid our taxes, but it seems the government doesn't have any money to help," Mersereau said. "I can liquidate my IRA and that'll get the repairs done, but then what do we live on?"

    The family is trying to find an agency or organization to help them financially or show the city the difficult situation they've been placed in.

    Mersereau said he's worried he could lose his house if he's unable to repair it, or unable to afford the repairs.

    "I feel sick. I feel like somebody has kicked me in the stomach," he said, "I'm more worried than angry."

    The Mersereaus have also approached a local bank about a home equity loan, which would require John to find at least part-time employment to pay back.

    "I hope I can find a job," Mersereau said. "I'm not sure what I'll do. Maybe somebody needs some work done."

    - Reporter Brian Stanley can be reached at (815) 729-6079 or



    This ticks me off when they can pick on an elderly man and his family like this....yet can't manage to do something about mulitple illegals in a single dwelling.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  2. #2
    Senior Member jp_48504's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    What a disgraceful way to treat the elderly.

    I know someone who can help do the work if he can get the money together.
    I stay current on Americans for Legal Immigration PAC's fight to Secure Our Border and Send Illegals Home via E-mail Alerts (CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP)

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