Matoesian taking another look at $104k judgment against Granite City

Steve Korris Aug. 11, 2005, 6:05am

Judge Andy Matoesian

Armettia Peach paid nothing for owning a $70,000 house in Granite City.

In fact, she may never have lived at 9 Briarcliffe Dr. or made the $8,000 worth of repairs she blamed the city for overlooking during an occupancy inspection. But she stood to reap an enormous sum because of the lawsuit she filed in Madison County.

Now, Madison County Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian is taking a second look at the $104,259.17 judgment he awarded to Peach--and against Granite City--last year. A hearing of all pending motions is set for 9 a.m. on Aug. 16.

One of the motions, filed by Granite City, asks Matoesian to vacate the judgment.

Peach claims the city improperly approved an occupancy permit for the home, protesting that water leaked through the roof and damaged the house.

Matoesian, in his order of judgment, wrote that the purchase price was $70,000 and repairs cost $8,242.50. He awarded Peach $78,242.50.

He awarded a third of that, $26,016.67, in fees for Peach’s attorney, Thomas Maag of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River.

Peach, however, had not paid $70,000 for the property. According to courthose records, she paid nothing for it.

The Record reported in April that Chad Carpenter bought the property for $68,900 in 2002, and transferred title to Peach in 2003 by quit claim deed.

Property records show that Peach paid zero for the title.

She sold the property last October for $40,000.

Maag’s court filings do not give Peach’s current address. The filings do not state that she ever lived at 9 Briarcliff Drive.

Nor do the filings show that she paid for the repairs.

Peach originally sued Kevin Link, former owner of the property. Link makes a living by buying distressed homes, fixing them and renting them with options to buy.

Peach also sued Kevin Lambert, a contractor who worked on the house for Link.

Her suit claimed Link and Lambert performed cosmetic repairs that hid defects.

Peach also named Granite City and an unknown city inspector as defendants.

Link and Lambert responded to the suit but Granite City did not. Peach conditionally dismissed Link and Lambert. She moved for default judgment against the city.

Matoesian granted default judgment July 1, 2004.

Maag sent Granite City a demand for payment Nov. 4, two days after his father, Gordon Maag, lost a race for the Illinois Supreme Court.

The city moved Nov. 17 to vacate the judgment. Attorney Jane Unsell of Alton argued that Peach’s complaint did not pray for relief from the city.

After the Record reported that Peach paid nothing for the home, Granite City hired a title company to confirm the report.

The title company's report confirmed the Record’s report. Unsell placed the title company's report in the case file.

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