Fairview Heights cites ice rink owner for violating city codes

News-DemocratNovember 11, 2013 

— Since the U.S. Ice Sports Complex closed more than a year ago, the city has cited the owner for violating various city codes.

"The city is following through on code enforcement and hopefully the owner responds and remedies the problem and can open again," said Fairview Heights City Administrator James Snider.

The U.S. Ice Sports Complex closed Oct. 9, 2012, due to mine subsidence that damaged the ice rinks. Damage from a mine settling beneath the complex was discovered and evaluated Oct. 8, 2012. At the time, owner Leon Lekai, manager of U.S. Ice LLC, the company that owns and manages the complex, said he was optimistic the rink would reopen and customers were advised to hold on to their passes.

U.S. Ice LLC is listed as an inactive limited liability corporation in Illinois and state records indicate the corporation was "involuntarily dissolved" in 2005.

The News-Democrat has not been able to reach Lekai after numerous attempts. The telephone at the rink has been disconnected and the website no longer exists.

The city first sent a letter to the owners of the ice rink on June 11 about several ordinance violations. City staff met with the owner in July to review the list of violations. Some of the violations had been corrected, others had not, according to Snider. The violations were not corrected and the city in August issued four citications for parking lot violations, high grass/weeds, roof drainage and an unsecured entrance.

The violations were set to be heard by the city in municipal court on Sept. 19 and the property owner did not appear for the court date. The hearing was reset for Oct. 24 and the owner again failed to appear.

Because the owner failed to appear at his second court date, four warrants were issued, each one in the amount of $5,000. With the violations still not remedied, the city on Friday issued eight more citations which are set for a first appearance in municipal court on Nov. 21.

The 75,000-square-foot facility, located at 125 S. Ruby Lane, has two National Hockey League-sized rinks and hosted numerous activities such as men's and youth hockey leagues, church groups, public sessions and private rentals.

The complex opened in May 1998. It was built with the help of a $575,000 investment from the city. That loan was paid off in 2006.

Along with the two ice rinks, the complex has locker rooms, concession stands, a vending area, a pro shop, a video game room, party room and a business office.

Contact reporter Jennifer A. Schaaf at jschaaf@bnd.com or 618-239-2667.

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