(CBS) — It was a long battle, but a Hinsdale couple says it was worth fighting.
A judge ruled they have the right to keep a statue in front of their property and won’t have to pay $450,000 in fines.READ MORE: University Of Chicago Folk Festival Works To Adapt Again Amid COVID-19 Surge
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.
This is Lady Justice. Curtis Kmiecek and his wife, attorney Dana Kurtz, say they now have justice, for the nearly 8-foot-high statue in front of Kurtz’s firm.
For nearly two years, the couple has been in a legal battle with the village of Hinsdale because of this statue. A judge recently ruled it can stay in place.
“I think that First Amendment freedoms are very important,” Kurtz says.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Metra Sets Tracks Ablaze To Combat Extreme Cold
The village sent Kurtz a letter in 2014 saying the statue was in violation of the village code, seeing it as an ad for Kurtz’s firm. The lawyer says she had the statue carved from a dead tree, to pay homage to her husband’s 30 years of military service.
“Symbolism is everything in the military,” Kmiecek says. “You don’t try to take that from a military person, or someone who thinks that way.”
Neighbors had complained about the statue. Following the judge’s ruling to allow it to stay, the village of Hinsdale issued a statement that says, in part: “The complaints of the neighbors were real and valid and the Village’s response was made in good faith and in an effort to maintain the reasonable expectations of our residential neighborhoods.”
Learning the village wanted to take the statue down on a certain date, the veteran had chained himself to it, while in his wheelchair. The statue was completed on the day he was injured in a skydiving accident.
“It has even more meaning, to our lives and who we are and his fighting for freedom,” Kurtz says.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Black Ice, Frostbite Risk As Wind Chills Drop Below Zero Tuesday
Kurtz has also filed a counterclaim against the village, saying it violated her First Amendment rights.