APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon.
FRANKLIN I. KRAL, Judge, presiding.
MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE HAYES DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
In an endeavor to establish the status of the title to a two-story frame building at 6639 South Normal Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, for the purpose of filing complaints against the interest holders in respect of violations of building ordinance of the City of Chicago, the City's Department of Buildings on 8 November 1968 initiated a title and tax search of the subject property. The said search was completed on 12 November 1968. The title search disclosed that the owners were Michael F. Moran and Walter Pittel (and his wife Elizabeth), and the tax search showed that, for the tax years 1967 through 1969, the property had been assessed in the name of Walter Pittel, whose residence address was listed as 1516 W. Schreiber Avenue in Chicago. In the oral argument, it was stated by the City and not denied that the said taxes had been paid by Walter Pittel from the Schreiber Avenue address, which had been the correct residential address of Walter Pittel in certain years prior to 1967 but which had never been the correct residential address of Michael F. Moran.
The Division of Inspectional Services of the City's Department of Buildings, through Inspector Frank Truesdale, then made later inspections of the subject property on 17 December 1968 and on 8 January 1969. In a report filed 15 January 1969, Inspector Truesdale listed about 15 ordinance violations.
Under date of 16 January 1969, Charles J. Schoper, Assistant Chief Plumbing Inspector for the Department of Buildings, mailed a notice of certain plumbing defects in the South Normal Boulevard building (which constituted ordinance violations) to "Mike Moran, 3831 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60657", which was the correct then current residential address of defendant Michael F. Moran.
Under date of 29 January 1969, Sidney D. Smith, Commissioner of Buildings and head of the City's Department of Buildings, mailed a letter to "Mr. Mike Moran, 3831 N. Lincoln Ave., Chgo., Ill.", informing Mr. Moran that an enclosed list contained 16 violations of the Municipal Code of Chicago, which had been noted in a recent inspection of the premises at 6639 S. Normal Boulevard. Mr. Moran was requested to return an affidavit as to what he had done or was doing about correcting the said violations by 6 February 1969. Meanwhile, Commissioner Smith offered the cooperation of the Department to Mr. Moran and instructed him to call "Mr. Truesdale 744-3442" for further information. The said list was in fact enclosed. The address used was again the correct then current residential address of defendant Michael F. Moran. Every transaction so far noted originated in the City's Department of Buildings.
On 10 February 1969, the City through its Law Department filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County seeking a fine of $2800 and other relief against Michael F. Moran and Walter Pittel, et al.
Count I of the complaint prayed for a fine in the amount of $2800 for 14 listed ordinance violations at the Normal Boulevard premises, of which defendants were alleged to have been notified, but which had allegedly not been corrected. Paragraph 3 of Count I, setting out the list of violations, appears to be the verbatim list prepared by Inspector Frank Truesdale from the inspection of 8 January 1969 and filed with the Department of Buildings on 15 January 1969. Below the list of violations and still within Paragraph 3 appear the names, inter alia, of Michael F. Moran and Walter Pittel with the address for each "1516 W. Schreiber". There also appears "Court date March 3, 1969, Room # 1406, Time 2:00 P.M."
Count II of the said complaint prays for injunctive relief against defendants to require them to correct the said violations and to restrain future violations, and for the appointment of a receiver, if necessary, to correct the said conditions, and for an order that the City demolish the building on the said premises and for judgment against defendants and a lien on the property in the amount of the cost of the demolition, as authorized by Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 24, par. 11-31-1.
Under date of 16 January 1969, the complaint was verified by Commissioner of Buildings Sidney D. Smith as the duly authorized agent of the City for the purpose of making the said affidavit.
On 10 February 1969, a summons was issued, directed to Michael F. Moran and to Walter Pittel, each at the address "1516 W. Schreiber", requiring them to appear on 3 March 1969. Each summons was returned "not found".
On 29 May 1969, alias summons issued as to each defendant at the same Schreiber Avenue address. Each alias summons was returned "not found deft. has moved".
On 2 June 1969, the Assistant Corporation Counsel handling the proceeding filed his affidavit for service by publication, in which he alleged that Michael F. Moran and Walter Pittel "on due inquiry cannot be found" and that "upon diligent inquiry" defendants' place of residence cannot be ascertained and that the last known place of residence for each defendant is "1516 West Schreiber". Publication was duly had and the notice thereof duly mailed to each defendant at "1516 W. Schreiber, Chicago, Ill.".
On 25 June 1969, the Assistant Corporation Counsel moved to default the defendants and to set a hearing date for 21 July 1969. The motion was allowed.
On 25 July 1969, the trial court entered its decree of demolition. It expressly found that it had jurisdiction of the parties and of the subject matter, and that the building involved was dangerous and in an unsafe condition. The court decreed demolition, that the demolition costs be charged against defendant, that the matter be continued to 24 October 1969 for the purpose of ascertaining the demolition costs and of entering a money judgment therefor, and that the ...