Another deadline passes for cleanup of Essex Wire site, court date tomorrow

News

Another deadline has passed as the City of Rockford continues its battle to clean up the former Essex Wire factory on N. Main Street.

A.W. Bennett, the company that owns the building, will appear in court again on Friday.

The site remains untouched, despite the company being threatened with a $200,000 fine after they missed their last clean-up date.

Last month, a judge ruled the company and it’s owner, Paul Bennett, in contempt of court, and ordered them to pay a fine if the site wasn’t clean in 30 days.

Thursday marks that 30-day deadline, and the North Main Street eyesore is still there.

The City’s Assistant Attorney, Matthew Flores, says A.W. Bennett is asking the judge for two concessions as both parties head to court on Friday.

First, they ask that the company’s owner appears via video instead of in person; and second, it asks that the judge drop the $200,000 fine.

The City says neither of those propositions are acceptable.

“Ultimately, the City will ask that the money be collected and held by the court, so that, if the City has to, in a future proceeding, or as part of this case down the line, if the City has to step in [and clean the site], that [the $200,000 fine) be there for use to save taxpayer dollars from being wasted, taking care of someone else’s responsibility,” Flores explained.

Flores added that the City believes the owner should have to fly in from Arizona to appear in court. He says Mr. Bennett should give the City that courtesy, after failing to show up to the last hearing.

A.W. Bennett has not commented on the case.

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