Thursday, August 23, 2007

Does It Come With Pigs?

Just when Estelle Walgreen won her battle to keep her pot-bellied pigs in Lake Forest, she lands in another tight situation.

The property where the pigs live in a luxurious converted garage is now in foreclosure. The mortgage was taken out last April and one would have to guess that all of Ms. Walgreen's ready cash went to pay her legal fees, leaving nothing for the monthly mortgage payments.

She has until September 17 to make good with the bank, or the loan will be declared in default and the property will be auctioned off on the steps of the Lake County Courthouse or some other very public venue.

If things proceed to that sad conclusion, the winning bidder will put down their money and take possession of a very choice piece of North Shore real estate. Like all other foreclosed properties, however, the parcel will not be open for inspection so it's a true case of caveat emptor. Naturally, then, the potential buyer must surely wonder if they'll be acquiring a family of swine in the process.


Anonymous said...

The only thing "sad" about this scenariio is that the City of Lake Forest did not have the fortitude to enforce its own laws. "Is a 300 lb. pig a farm animal?" Even Estelle Walgreen herself admitted under oath in her subsequent deposition that her pigs are farm animals-- and that her lawyers threatened a lawsuit. The City's ordinance mandates 10 acres and 200 foot setbacks for farm animals, which she did not have. "Let the courts decide!" was the cry from our City fathers. The judge decided that the City should enforce its own laws, not him. So here we are, between two bureacracies, with farm animals destroying the value and liquidity of our property. In a recent city survey, 25% of Lake Forest residents rated our government low on "trustworthines." Not surprising.

O hAnnrachainn said...

In talking to attorneys, I heard that this was a case of legal hair-splitting. The ordinance did not state "pigs" specifically in its list of banned animals, hence she could keep her pigs.

Cases like this are more about courtesy to one's neighbors than the letter of the law. Civility vs. civil rights, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Laws are usually written for a good readon. Most communities separate residential zones from farm and industrial zones to not only protect property (most people's greatest financial investment is in their home), but also to protect their safety and quality of life. We had chosen, as had our neighbors of 25 years, to live in a residential zone. Estelle Walgreen disregarded our "civil rights" and in a gesture quite lacking in "civility" chose to impose her farm animals on us (burps, grunts, massive size et al). We objected and asked our City to enforce its long-standing zoning ordinance. It chose, instead, to look for an excuse so that it could evade a threatened lawsuit. One of the very first comments by an alderman was, "She has resources." Lawmakers have a moral obligation to enforce their laws, or at least attempt to do so. Our amoral pragmatists instead tried to save the City's money and pass the burden of defending our property onto our shoulders. Shameful.