Granite City is trying to evict a family of five from the Maple Street home they have been working to purchase from their landlord, and they say the reason isn’t fair.
It’s because of a crime they didn’t commit, according a lawsuit they filed against the city Thursday in federal court.
Their son’s 18-year-old friend, who stayed with them a few nights a week when he had nowhere else to go, was convicted of burglary for breaking into a business, the lawsuit states. The home address police had for the teen was the family’s, court records show.
Because they have a lease-purchase agreement and not a mortgage, the city is enforcing its crime-free housing ordinance that says tenants can be evicted from rentals if they — or their guests — commit a crime such as burglary.
The family — Jessica Barron, Kenny Wylie and their three children — and their landlord, Bill Campbell, argue the ordinance is unconstitutional.
“I would understand if I would’ve committed the crime,” Barron told KSDK. “I did not commit a crime. I did not hide him. I did not do anything wrong.”
Brian Konzen, the city attorney, and other public officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Even before Barron found out that the family could lose their home for the teen’s crime, she asked him to stop coming over, and he did, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint accuses Granite City police officers of threatening to arrest Campbell and “personally” evict the family when the landlord didn’t start eviction proceedings.
“These people need to go,” an officer said to Campbell in a voicemail message, according to the lawsuit.