LAWRENCEVILLE, Ill. (WTHI) – One Lawrenceville, Illinois man says he’s at the end of his rope following a four year long battle over getting his apartment fixed up. George Cessna reached out to the News 10 Southern Bureau newsroom this week to seek help in getting his story out.
Cessna’s apartment, which is a single family home, modified into two apartments sits along Lexington Avenue in Lawrenceville. “I’ve lived in this place for almost 9 years and it has been falling apart and I have been trying to get something done legally,” said Cessna.
Cessna told News 10 that although he collects social security income and would qualify for government aided housing, his criminal record prevents him doing so. Lawernceville Police confirmed the man did have a criminal history that would disqualify him from living in government housing.
“Because of my background they told me that I’m not eligible to be in most of them, ” he added. “I’m about at the end of the rope to try to figure out what to do so I’m doing this probably as a last resort because I may end up getting thrown out for doing this.”
Cessna’s apartment appeared to be in bad shape. The renter walked a News 10 crew through his living area which revealed no running water in the kitchen or bathroom; sink and toilet included. A hole was visible in the kitchen floor, and several holes in the apartment’s ceiling had been patched. A piece of insulation board was being used in a doorway between the apartment’s living area and kitchen to keep in heat.
“It’s actually got so cold in here at night that the bathtub I had half full of water froze solid,” said Cessna.
According to Lawrenceville City documents, Cessna had filed paperwork complaints to code enforcement officers looking for resolution in some of the issues. Officials off camera told News 10, the city couldn’t move forward with issues because Cessna opted out of vacating the property.
“I’ve been told by a guy that’s checking into it too, that out of 350 rentals 250 are sub-standard,” added Cessna. News 10 could not confirm this statement to be factually true. However, landlord/tenant documents dated for September 2013 did show that Cessna had been evicted. Cessna claimed the document was not valid, which allowed him to stay in the apartment.
News 10 reached out to the property manager, A & D Rentals by telephone but a call was not immediately returned Wednesday. Cessna told News 10 he pays $150 a month for the apartment plus utilities.