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Concrete blocks punctuate Island Lake property dispute

Published: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 11:18 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 10:01 p.m. CDT
(Photo provided)
A property dispute on Bassler Drive between Betty and Glenn Reckwerdt and Mike Johnson has escalated over the last few weeks to involve several Island Lake families, village officials and the police department. Johnson left cement blocks on the Reckwerdt's drive Friday, Sept. 20, but moved them off the drive the following Monday after the fire department said it obstructed access to the Reckwerdt's home. The driveway cuts through Johnson's property, but the Reckwerdt's have an easement.

ISLAND LAKE – A property dispute in Island Lake has escalated to giant concrete blocks left along a driveway, a threatened lawsuit and calls to end a city contract.

The disputes centers around a driveway.

The driveway connects Betty and Glenn Reckwerdt's home to Bassler Drive, cutting through a property that used to be owned by Glenn Reckwerdt and his family but is now owned by Mike Johnson and his son.

The Reckwerdts have an easement for the driveway, but Johnson would like move the driveway, Betty Reckwerdt said.

Johnson had hoped to develop the property and move his company, Mike's Towing, there, he said. He had been talking to the Reckwerdts about it for four years.

"He's asked us frequently," said Betty Reckwerdt, adding that Johnson knew about the easement when he bought the property. "It's like what part of no do you not understand. He says there's another place we could put the driveway, but with the slopes, it's not safe."

It was on Thursday, Sept. 19, that the disagreement took another turn.

A friend of the Reckwerdts – a person who has his own issues with Johnson – was walking along the driveway, Betty Reckwerdt said.

Johnson argues that he was trespassing, and so he called the police.

The incident was the tipping point for Johnson.

He had giant concrete barriers placed on the driveway Friday, marking where he says the driveway should be.

The police and fire department were called.

The fire department asked that the barriers blocking the driveway be moved, and Monday night they were, Betty Reckwerdt said.

The police stayed out of it.

"That's a civil property issue, and the police are not involved in it," Police Chief Don Bero said.

Trustee Shannon Fox disagreed and called for the police department to end its contract with Mike's Towing, which removes vehicles for the department in cases where there was an accident or an arrest.

"I don't think [Mike's Towing] should be rewarded with business," she said. "That's absurd."

But Village President Charles Amrich said Fox should stay out of the matter.

"The village should not have been involved in it because it has nothing to do with the village of Island Lake," he said.

Johnson plans on suing Fox for defaming him in emails that went out surrounding the issue, he said.

"She brutally bullied and attacked me," he said.

A suit has not been filed as of Thursday, but Fox said she stands by her response.

"I didn't involve myself in the property dispute," she said. "I don't know who's right or wrong, and honestly I don't care. That's not my business. But when a resident feels threatened and their safety is at risk, I think it is our duty to assist them."

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