Perryville case avoids use of eminent domain: Rockford (IL) Register Star, 11/17/05

By Pat Milhizer

Taxpayers would spend $475,000 for the last piece of land needed to extend Perryville Road under a proposed deal reached Thursday.

Attorneys for Machesney Park and Winnebago County agreed to the proposal in court with Nebahat Olcher, who owns 12.3 acres at 8122 Mitchell Road that the county threatened to acquire through eminent domain.

The county plans to extend two lanes of Perryville about two miles north from ShowPlace 14 in Machesney Park to Swanson Road. Construction, estimated at $2.8 million, is expected to begin next summer and finish next fall.

Negotiations with Olcher began in October 2003. According to the settlement, Olcher and her son would receive $366,816.16. Olcher was represented by Robert Fredrickson and Jack Ward of the Reno Zahm Law Firm, which would get $108,183.83.

Initially, Olcher requested at least $1 million for the land, but a county appraisal put the value at $419,101. If the case would have reached an eminent domain trial, a jury would have decided how much money Olcher would have received.

In all, the payments equate to about $38,617 per acre.

Excluding Olcher’s property, the county has paid an average of about $22,724 to acquire the other 42.3 acres to extend Perryville from Illinois 173 to Swanson Road.

Before Thursday’s settlement was agreed to in court, Fredrickson and Ward withdrew from representing Olcher.

The attorneys took issue with a statement Olcher filed in court without their knowledge, saying the statement contained false and defamatory comments.

Olcher filed the document, dated on Oct. 29, saying she didn’t understand another $475,000 settlement she signed on Oct. 26. The statement says that Fredrickson and Ward used Olcher’s “emotional stress to their benefit” so she would sign a deal she never intended to sign.

Olcher’s statement also said she is “innocent” and a minority who can’t read English easily.

As part of Thursday’s deal, Olcher denied in court that she said that the attorneys had “cheated” her. She made that statement to a Rockford Register Star reporter last week.

The settlement is subject to approval by the County Board, which meets Tuesday.

But Machesney Park would pay the cost due to an agreement between the village and county. The county has to pay the cost up front, and the village would pay off the debt without interest in $150,000 annual installments.

Rockford Register Star: www.rrstar.com