By Tim McNicholas

CHICAGO (CBS) — Telecom giant, AT&T, has sent homeowner Jason Tripoli on a wild goose chase, after installing a large utility box on his property, blocking the spot where he wanted to build a garage.

CBS 2 Morning insider Tim McNicholas looks into this years-long saga.

“One day, I came home, and there was a utility box blocking pretty much half my lot,” Tripoli said. “There was no prior notice, no information, no phone call, nothing.”

Tripoli had planned to build a garage where the utility box was installed, so he could exit through the alley.

“If you notice on the front of my property, I’m directly across the street from a very busy Chicago Fire Department station,” Tripoli said. “I would like to be able to avoid; sometimes the trucks coming in and out.”

His plans were thwarted when AT&T put this box along the fenceline in his back alley. He first reached out to AT&T in 2010, but no one responded, so he started seeking help.

He contacted his alderman, Sophia King (4th); his state senator, Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago); and the Illinois Commerce Commission. Each reached out to AT&T on his behalf.

“Once I did that, I heard from them,” Tripoli said.

Then came more hurdles.

“They had me pull a permit, and that was part of their protocol in order to relocate the box,” he said.

So he paid $225 for a building permit from the city of Chicago.

“I sent it to them, it was accepted,” he said.

AT&T thanked him, and said they’d get the process started, but then nothing happened.

“Nothing, no response whatsoever,” Tripoli said.

An AT&T representative claimed COVID-19 delayed the project, and said the company is working as quickly as possible to move the box.

When we pressed AT&T about that claim, we learned it had completed “phase one” of the project last summer. We never got an explanation of what that means, and as video in this story shows, there is no evidence of construction work at the site.

AT&T also would not tell us when the project might done, nor what will be done about the expired permit.

Tim McNicholas