Owner finds home destroyed by village

Local News

RANKIN — A woman says she’s now homeless because village officials evicted her and destroyed the place where she was staying, but village leaders say they were within their right. 

She says she came home after running errands to find her things in a pile.

This woman is looking for answers. She met with the village to find out where things went wrong. While they say her 30-days were up, she thought she had more time.

Cherie Defrancisco says she left home to go to Walmart, in Watseka, and, when she returned, the camper she had was destroyed. All of her belongings were still inside and her dogs were gone.

“They didn’t even tear the house down. They destroyed my camper and he said, ‘You can feel free to sue us,'” states Defrancisco. 

But she says she can’t afford a lawyer to sue. She just wanted a little more time to get her things.

“They left me alone for the couple weeks the mayor supposedly let me have. He never answered me back after I texted him saying, ‘Thank you,'” says Defrancisco.

But those now thankful to the mayor are Defrancisco’s neighbors.  

“She’s been a nightmare and I’m glad she’s finally gone,” says Pam Smith.

Smith says she experienced a lot living across the street from her neighbor.

“There’s black mold, red mold, purple mold. Horrible. She lives without any water or any gas,” says Smith.

They say it’s something that was way overdue. 

“I praise the mayor for finally getting rid of her. He’s done an awesome job to finally do it,” comments Smith. 

When Smith was asked if Defrancisco may have been struggling to keep her house up because of her disability, Smith questioned if her neighbor is truly disabled.

“She was supposedly disabled but I watched that girl throw a couch on top of her mini van. I watched her haul things that my boyfriend couldn’t haul,” stated Smith. 

Mayor Aaron Warren says this is months in the making and the village gained the deed earlier this year. He says there were unpaid taxes so they received the property and Defrancisco was given notice.

He also says the camper was destroyed because they own the property and needed to clean up. 

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