The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALESIA
On February 12, 1996, the court held an evidentiary hearing on the third-party claim of Maribeth Messino to 13.27 acres of land in Monee, Illinois ("Monee property"), which was ordered forfeited in connection with the above-captioned criminal case.
The court, based upon the credible evidence of record, makes the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of law.
1. The jury returned a special verdict of forfeiture as to the Monee property at the end of the criminal trial of Clement and Christopher Richard Messino.
2. The court entered a preliminary order of forfeiture against the Monee property on August 21, 1995.
3. John Platek ("Platek") had owned the vacant Monee property for seven years when Clement Messino asked to buy it from him in 1990.
4. Clement Messino purchased the Monee property from Platek for $ 40,000 in cash. Clement Messino made approximately seven cash payments to Platek for the property in 1990 and 1991.
5. In May or June 1991, Maribeth Messino drove with Clement Messino to a vacant piece of property in Monee, Illinois.
6. The closing for the transaction took place at Clement Messino's attorney's office on June 17, 1991. Present at the closing were Clement Messino, Platek, and Kathy Lewis ("Lewis"), Clement Messino's girlfriend.
8. Maribeth Messino did not attend the closing.
9. Maribeth Messino's grandmother, Betty Messino, died August 1, 1991, almost two months after the ...