Village Has Cancer Patient Evicted Over Sewer Bill

MARSEILLES, Ill. (CBS) — A small town is supposed to be where people care most.

But the downstate village of Marsailles evicted a 65-year-old man from his lifelong home because he did didn’t pay a $6,000 sewer bill. It happened just days after he got home from cancer surgery, CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports.

Jimmy Carlson’s lifelong home sits just beyond the village’s own welcome sign. But last week, sheriff’s deputies paid an unwelcome visit, tossing out his belongings and evicting him, all because of the unpaid sewer bill.

For 65 years, the home is the only place Jimmy has ever lived. The sewer bills, about $28 dollars a month, started mounting years ago, and his wife, Patti, admits she was inattentive.

“That responsibility was on me. But as an active alcoholic, things slipped, priorities slipped,” she says.

She’s been sober four years, but consumed again recently with Jimmy’s health problems. The sheriff showed up for the eviction, just four days after he got home from lung cancer surgery.

Doctors got the tumor. The village got his house.

The Carlsons were helpless as scavengers picked through their belongings.

“People even came and took their underwear. They have only one set of underwear right now. It’s horrible, it’s disgusting,” neighbor Stephanie Miskell Engel says.

City officials say they had been working with the Carlsons for five or six years to try to clear up the overdue sewer bills, but the family simply wouldn’t pay. On Thursday, no one at the city level wanted to talk on camera about the eviction.

“It might be legally right, but it’s morally wrong,” neighbor Butch Simmons says.

The Carlsons’ back sewer bills total around $10,000 – that’s about $6,000 in sewer charges and $4,000 in court costs.

The village of Marsailles now owns the home. The Carlsons have another financial problem as well. The city attorney says they’re also about $10,000 behind on their property taxes as well.

The couple is living temporarily with a friend in nearby Ottawa.

More from Derrick Blakley
  • noneofyourbusines

    Stop making Marseilles out to be the bad guy. This went on for over a decade, they knew this was coming. He did not have cancer until very recently. I wish more people would read the whole story, not just the pathetic headline! She admits throwing away the sewer bill.

    • Roberta Waker

      Sorry to disagree with you, but the Village of Marsailles IS the bad guy, especially if the house was up for sale and he was trying to pay his bills. If they had a lien on his house, that should have been sufficient until it could be sold. If he dies as a result of his eviction, I hope his wife sues the Village and I could almost guarantee that any jury would award her 10 times more than the house was worth let alone what they owed. SHAME ON YOU MARSAILLES.

      • Huh?

        Under what theory would the wife sue the Village? How many years are people to be allowed to not pay their bills. Of course it’s unfortunate to be evicted, but let’s not pretend the former homeowners don’t bear blame.

  • allmybusiness

    The town took a 115,000 house for a 10,000 bill and threw the guy out when medical personnel on the scene advised against it. The city basically robbed him of 100K in home equity as his house was PAID FOR IN FULL except the liens for taxes and sewer. He was trying to sell the home to pay the liens, the city and realtor both admit the Carlsons were cooperative, they were not disputing the bill. The city after taking the house, that’s the bill/penalties AND $100,000 of this senior citizens home equity they told him a solution was in the works to avoid eviction because he just had lung surgery. Instead the city showed up and threw the guy on the street as medical staff begged otherwise. He was thrown out in is pjs and under ware! Now remember at this point the city got its bill paid, all fees AND $100,000!!! They proceeded to throw all their belongings on the front lawn. Since they were dead broke someone volunteered to take a load and store it, when they left with the first load the cops left and city descended on the mans personal property and they robbed him blind. After it was all over the residence of the city began bringing junk to the property and dumping it on the lawn. When charities were setup for the man the city residence on facebook came out telling people not to help him. Apparently losing everything you own to pay a $6000 bill was not enough. Jimmy Carlson lost over 120,000 dollars, virtually everything he owns and just had surgery for lung cancer. The town thinks he deserved it and he should receive no help. I would say that makes the town the bad guy.

    • Roberta Waker

      Would it be too late for the Carlsons to get a reverse mortgage to pay their sewer bill, taxes, and get back into their house? Maybe they should look into this ASAP because a reverse mortgage will also give them money to live every month to pay their bills and survive. Shame they would have to do this, but it might be an option because I don’t think the Village owns the house until it’s sold at a Sheriff’s sale and that takes time. They should consult with an attorney, who might take their case pro bono. It’s worth a try. Good Luck, Mr. Carlson.

  • Swtnsassy87

    What is wrong with this town. REGARDLESS this is morally wrong. The bill is not in dispute its the way it went down. I can not believe that the town thinks this is right, that is scary all on its own. I know quite a few people in that town and I know they can not think this is morally justified. Why, if the Mayor and the rest of the city think this was right, why did you not get on camera and face the rest of the world with what you guys did. This story is being told all over, what a way to get on the news MARSEILLES! Give these people back their home! You can’t give them back their possessions but you can give them back the roof over their heads. It is cold outside and winter is coming and the man is recovering surgery find another way to get the money honestly, I am sure there are more people in that town that owe money did you do this to them as well? I don’t care if the man smokes or if she mismanaged their money, there are quite a few drunks in that town I don’t see people saying anything to them. People make mistakes and granted this should of been taking care of awhile ago, but it wasn’t and you allowed it to go on this long why would you do that? Instead of letting this get out of hand the way it did why not visit these people and see what is really going on and why this isn’t being taken care of, there is help out there something could of been done. This is an elderly man who I am sure if it was his neighbor or friend that this was happening to would of helped not steal his or her belongings. How cruel Marseilles to take something that doesn’t belong to you, you took the mans house now you rummage through his belongings and then use the mans yard as a dump site…SHAME ON YOU!

  • Just Joe

    What even this news outlet leaves out, is that of the initial $6000 in sewer bills owed, MORE THAN $4500 of it was in city added “late fees”.
    The village most certainly could have shut off sewer service LONG AGO, and in fact has an ordinance ON THE BOOKS that sets a $35 fee for doing so.

    Instead they PREYED on a man…..(known to most in the small town) who lived in the village ALL his life and cant read, and his wife who has her own demons to deal with……and with the help of the city collection attorney began what can best be described as a conspiracy to rid the city of the easy target couple, and gain the deed to their “main street” house/property.

    And just what the hell is the city attorney flapping about the couple owing $10K in back taxes? According to the Lasalle County Treasurer, his taxes owed had been “sold” and they owe NOTHING….ZERO….NADA… to the county or city in taxes………

    To the CBS news team.
    PLEASE dont stop at this ,with this article. The local paper and news is just that……LOCAL and afraid of losing their advertisers if they dig too deep or expose the of the city administration,and involved city attorney for the pathetic predators they are.

    This couple lost their $100,000 home to the good ole boys, over a sewer bill that initially totaled LESS than $1000 for sewer service……..the rest of what the city and their attorney claim is owed them……are late fees,interest, and of course the predatory attorney fees.

    • Somewhere in Marseilles

      This has to be the best explanation of all of this that I have seen yet.Great job!

  • Taxpayer

    These people should have just paid their bills in the first place. There is no morality issue, you don’t pay your bills, there is penalties. They probably thought that his being sick would make some sort of difference, but they were wrong. You people expect the village to be charitable, but that is not their responsibility. I also would have given the order to evict. PAY UP OR GET OUT!!! The rules are the same for everyone!!

    • brad

      you are a ass

      • Taxpayer

        Thank you, Brad. Your opinion is appreciated.

  • Shut the F up

    @Roberta Waker

    • Roberta Waker

      Why are you so nasty? You don’t know me and your foul language is uncalled for. The U.S. Constitution gives me the right to my opinion, just like it gives you the right to state your opinion. Have another cup of coffee or whatever drugs it takes to make you civilized and have a nice day.

  • Roberta Waker

    Sounds like allmybusiness,, Swtnsassy87 and Just Joe know what went down and why. If half of what they said is true, Mr. Carlson should talk with an attorney to get his house back because his rights may have been violated if he can’t read. Illegals have interpreters at our expense so why shouldn’t an American citizen be entitled to representation as well? This case is getting better and better; CBS needs to dig deep and follow up.

  • Huh?

    Oh brother, if the city sells the house, the Carlsons will get their equity back. Some of you people are so laughably ignorant of the legal system it’s sad. Instead of getting all worked up, how about researching a bit?

  • Deets

    Sorry if I’m nitpicking, but since it was repeated several times: It’s spelled “Marseilles,” and it’s a City, not a village.

  • Swtnsassy87

    Doesn’t matter if it’s a city or village or another state point is plain and simple it was wrong how it all happened. I lived in that town “AKA” village and I feel for that couple and it used to be a nice little place to live. There is not any reason for anyone to get nasty on here its obvious people are taking sides so people just need to accept that.

    • Deets

      I was just pointing out some facts that the reporters got incorrect and didn’t take any side on this issue.

  • Martucky Mayor

    A better headline would be “Parents leave man over $800,000.00 dollars in real property and he and his alcoholic wife squandered it.” She ran through that money pretty hard with booze, cigarettes, and frequent trips to the Joliet casino. They have been on the link assistance card for quite a while after wasting all their own money. .

    • Taxpayer

      Finally the truth comes out. $800,000? Typical drunk ass gambling junkies. I just knew this sob story was a load of BS. Too drunk and irresponsible to pay their bills, FOR YEARS! Well Brad, all I can say is,HA!!!

  • Martucky Mayor

    She has also been jailed several times in Lasalle county jail. You can look that up in the public record. They are not destitute. He has a pension and is on social security. The are also eligible for assisted living.

    • Taxpayer

      Thank you Martucky Mayor for the truth. People are so quick to jump on the sob story bandwagon. These people got exactly what they set themselves up for!!!

  • brad

    It the way it was handled,bad timing.

    • Jim

      Kind of like losing everything in Vegas!

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live