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Business sues  Crown Point, city inspector

Updated: May 14, 2013 11:51AM



CROWN POINT — The City of Crown Point and city inspector Keith Anderson and wife Jeanne, and their company, Commercial Heating & Cooling, Inc., are being sued by EDCO Environmental Services, Inc.

The city and Commerical Heating and Cooling are facing 84 separate counts in the lawsuit.

The first count concerns the Andersons’ business, which is being run in a residential district.

The Andersons received a special-use variance in 2004 for operating an office in an outbuilding, with the two petitioners, who reside there, to work in the office.

“Equipment will not be stored or repaired on the property,” according to the 2004 city document.

The special-use was granted to Keith Anderson and his ex-wife and was signed Feb. 22, 2004 by then-mayor Dan Klein.

The lawsuit includes 38 items that the plaintiff lists as violations of the special-use variance, including heavy equipment being worked on or stored at the residential property, and a commercial-sized dumpster continuously in use for no less than the past two years.

The suit claims that the city, by allegedly allowing activity outside the parameters of the special-use variance, is giving Commercial a competitive edge over the plaintiff and other HVAC contractors in the city who operate their businesses in areas with the Industrial-1 zoning classification.

Complaints have been expressed at City Council meetings by Councilman Robert Clemons about signs for a business being conducted at the Andersons’ location as well as equipment and trucks at that location.

In other allegations, the plaintiff states that as an inspector, Keith Anderson inspected HVAC work performed by EDCO, and, following unfavorable inspections, offered to provide services to those EDCO clients by and through Commercial Heating & Cooling.

The court documents also contain the charge that Keith Anderson, in a letter to the city about an inspection he made of work performed by EDCO for the Fire Department, made false statements about EDCO that damaged EDCO’s reputation in the community and injured EDCO’s business by the loss of the contract for HVAC services with the Fire Department.

EDCO also alleges that the city, by inaction on the charges against the Andersons and CHC, participated in harming EDCO.

Mayor David Uran has not been available for a comment regarding the suit.

When reached on Friday, Jeanne Anderson said “no comment” before ending a phone call.

EDCO originally sent notice of a potential suit to the city in October 2011.

This year, EDCO hired new counsel, Crown Point firm Austgen & Kuiper and Associates, which is now pursuing the case on EDCO’s behalf.



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