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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Status conference rescheduled in suit alleging former party chair demolished buildings for scrap


By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Feb 10, 2020

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St. Clair County Associate Judge Julie Katz reset a status conference in a suit alleging former East St. Louis Democratic Party chairman Charlie Powell demolished buildings for scrap.

Katz scheduled the status conference for March 16 at 9 a.m.

Mark Gates filed the complaint on Nov. 17, 2016 against Powell, doing business as Powell’s Demolition, and Robert Betts.

Gates alleges Powell caused a fire to start at an adjoining building in November 2014. He then allegedly falsely obtained a demolition permit issued by Betts and tore the structures down to take bricks and steel beams for resale.

Gates alleges the defendants demolished his building without his permission, depriving him of the value of his building.

Powell filed a two-count counter complaint against Gates, arguing that he “did not identify himself as the owner of the building, but instead was contacted by the City in order to perform an emergency demolition of the said building at the request of the City.”

Powell argues that Gates wrongfully accused him of theft and fraud.

He also argues that Gates “either directly or indirectly caused the Belleville News Democrat to publish an article entitled ‘Ex-political boss denies suit’s claim that he’s an arsonist.’”

 “Further, these statements were willfully and maliciously made with the intent to defame Charles Powell, including accusing him of committing the felony of arson, or at least participating in such arson.

Both parties have denied the allegations against them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-615

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