Anatomy of Peach v. Granite City

by Steve Korris |
Mar. 31, 2005, 12:57pm

Armettia Peach, who stands to gain a $78,242.50 judgment against Granite City for issuing an occupancy permit when it shouldn't have, originally aimed her suit erroneously at A2Z Construction co-owners Kevin Link and David Lambert, claiming they performed cosmetic repairs that hid numerous defects.

Lambert was associated with A2Z Construction, but Link never was.

Then, she added Granite City and an "unknown inspector" to the complaint on a count of conspiracy, claiming the city should not have issued an occupancy permit to her.

Link hired an attorney who helped him get dismissed from the suit, although the order is pending.

Lambert signed a stipulation last April that dismissed him without releasing him. He agreed that if Peach wanted to rename him as defendant, he would not assert a statute of limitations.

That left Granite City as a sole target.

Arguing that the city had not answered Peach's claim, Maag moved Matoesian for default judgment against Granite City on June 8, 2004.

On July 1, Matoesian signed a default order against Granite City and the unknown inspector. He ruled that the purchase price was $70,000, and that Peach spent $8,242.50 repairing the house.

Matoeisan entered judgment of $78,242.50, plus a third of that - $26,016.67 - in legal fees, for a total of $104.259.17.

“Granite City has a long history of ignoring cases, and then complaining when something bad happens," Maag wrote after the order was signed. He wrote that Peach tried to negotiate but the city refused.

He added that Granite City wanted to roll the dice.

“Se le vie!" Maag wrote.

In an effort to vacate the judgment against the city, defense attorney Unsell claimed it never received paperwork from the plaintiff.

“The city never received notice from the plaintiff that she intended to seek relief specifically from the city," said Unsell in a motion filed on Nov. 17. She argued that the complaint did not pray for relief.

Maag deposed city risk manager Lynette Kozer on Jan. 31. He asked her if the city clerk was served notice of the suit. Kozer said yes.

Maag asked if city inspectors had resigned. Kozer said, "three."

The city moved Feb. 28 to stay execution of the judgment. Peach opposed the motion, but agreed on March 4 to wait for Matoesian’s April 15 hearing before proceeding with execution of the judgment.

9 Briarcliff

In May 2004, according to property records, Saxon Mortgage, a Virginia company, recorded a $53,250 mortgage..

On Oct. 4, 2004, Illinois Property Development, a limited liability corporation, bought the property from Peach for $40,000.

The property changed hands again Dec. 23, 2004. Illinois Property Development sold it to Laurie Selph--the mayor's sister-in-law, for $57,000.

Class acts

Peach’s daughter, Ashley Peach, filed class action suits last year against Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Fashion Bug, after the retailers refused to give change on purchases she made with gift cards. In depositions, mother and daughter have stated that gift cards are the same as cash. All three cases are pending.

Armettia Peach filed a class action suit in 2002 against CIM Insurance. She stated that when she bought a 1999 Jeep Cherokee from Enterprise Leasing, she also paid for a CIM extended protection plan. She claimed CIM falsely represented that the entire payment passed through to CIM, when part of it did not pass through. The case is pending.

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