Schaumburg Man Living in Van Guilty of Village Violations

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCChicago.com
    A Schaumburg man at odds with his neighbors and the village hall is living in a van outside his home while fighting to keep it.

    The Schaumburg man who'd been living on his lawn since foreclosure proceedings began on his suburban home was found guilty Friday of violating village code.

    The verdict from his peers -- to which John Wuerffel had won the right earlier this week -- came after less than an hour of deliberations.

    Judge Hyman Riebman fined the 62-year-old Wuerrfel a total of $1,200 for violations that occurred between May and last month.

    "I’m not a hoarder. I’m not a pack rat," Wuerffel told jurors during closing arguments, according to the Chicago Tribune. "Garbage is an interpretive word. That’s my life."

    Wuerffel suffers from a bi-polar disorder and collects cans and other assorted trash, which led Freddie Mac to believe the home was in derelict condition.  His lender, HSBC, then padlocked the door, forcing Wuerffel to live in a van parked just outside the home.

    Riebman didn't explicitly order Wuerffel to clean the yard of the home on the 1400 block of Hampton Lane and he didn't order the village to step in and take care of it.  The village has twice cleaned the property since 2008.

    An attorney for Schaumburg acknowledged more legal action still might be necessary to force a cleanup.

    "We’ll do whatever it takes to get this job done as expeditiously as possible,” said attorney Elmer Mannina.

    For his part, Wuerrfel said he has cleaned up his front yard and now plans to turn his attention to the back yard, which he said should be cleaned up within two weeks.

    He pledged to cooperate with village officials. “I’ll work with them and I’ll try to do what I can,” he said.