Out-of-state companies guilty of endangering the health of East St. Louis residents

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by Lauren Trager / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on June 25, 2013 at 9:51 PM

(KMOV) -- Three companies were found guilty of endangering the health and safety of people who live in East St. Louis on Tuesday.

There are 30 charges so far, with plans for more.

A judge already sided with the State's Attorney saying these out-of-town companies are doing major damage to our local communities.

"They abandon them, they don't put any money into them, and they don't do anything to help the community,” said St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly.

Kelly waded through the weeds to take a look at places he calls magnets for prostitution, drugs, and danger.

Hundreds of properties owned by three companies, all of them based out of one home in Skokie, Illinois.

News 4 was there six years ago, as the owners snatched up the properties on the cheap from tax sales.

They even told us they planned to do nothing.

“People just don't have any regard for East St. Louis,” said councilmember Robert Eastern, III.

Eastern tells me they can't afford the clean up.

"It even makes me angrier because if you are a company, you have the money and you should have the wherewithal to keep up your property,” he said.

A judge has so far levied $40,000 in fines.

No one returned our call for comment to the company.

But Kelly says if they don't pay up soon, he can start seizing their assets. For every day they keep the properties looking like this, the company’s owners could be charged again.

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