More news from the messy yard police. Looks like you can go to jail for crimes your property commits in Chicago!!!
Bail set at $50,000 for owner of building where firefighters died
By Jason Meisner Tribune reporter
3:41 p.m. CST, January 5, 2012
A Chicago building owner accused of failing to fix up the abandoned structure before it collapsed in a fire, killing two Chicago firefighters, was released this afternoon on $50,000 bond.
Chuck Dai, 62, spent about three hours in custody in the lockup behind Judge James Obbish’s courtroom before his wife posted the $5,000 necessary to secure his release. He later walked out of the Criminal Courts Building without comment.
In asking for a substantial bail, Cook County prosecutors said in court that they have several witnesses who will testify that the building, a former laundry at 1738-44 E. 75th St., was in disrepair, unsecured and frequented by squatters when the fire broke out on Dec. 22, 2010.
Firefighters Edward Stringer and Corey Ankum were killed and 17 others were injured when the rotting truss roof collapsed while firefighters searched for inhabitants.
Prosecutors filed a petition last month to hold Dai in criminal contempt for failing to make the necessary repairs. Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Lacy said in court today that prosecutors are seeking prison time for Dai, but she did not elaborate.
Dai’s attorney, Gene Murphy, had asked the judge to release Dai on his own recognizance, questioning why prosecutors waited a year before filing the petition on the first anniversary of the deadly blaze. Dai has lived in the Chicago area for nearly three decades and has no prior criminal history.
Murphy also said prosecutors failed to provide “a single piece of evidence” in their petition that Dai had failed to comply with the order of a housing court judge.
“The state’s attorney’s office jumps from ‘there was a fire’ to somehow holding my client responsible for the deaths,” Murphy said.
Prosecutors alleged that Dai signed an order in housing court in October 2009 in which he agreed to fix multiple code violations by November 2010, including a leaking roof that had rotting trusses and holes.
Records show city building inspectors had not yet followed up to make sure the repairs had been made before the fatal fire the following month.