The Forest Park man who began camping on his lawn and refusing to eat on Jan. 1 has ended his hunger strike and is now spending nights inside the Circle Avenue home where he lives with his wife and four children.
Late last week, village officials told Xavier Murillo Guerrero to remove his tent by Jan. 9 or face a local ordinance citation and fine. By Friday evening, Guerrero had eaten some food, ending his nearly week-long strike and began sleeping inside again.
“Force never really works,” Steve Glinke, director of Forest Park’s department of health and safety said. “We decided to give him an opportunity to comply voluntarily.”
Glinke added that he encouraged Guerrero to find alternative housing.
“We’ve been patient with him,” Glinke said. “He got his message out.”
A Dec. 12, 2016 Cook County court ruling gave possession of the property at 1132 Circle Avenue to Longstreet Capital Funding, a Chicago-based LLC, owned by Brian Passmore. Longstreet bought the delinquent tax bill at auction in 2013 and has been paying the property taxes since.
“I was hoping Passmore just wanted the [tax bill] money and a bit of profit.” Guerrero said when reached by phone Monday. “That continues to be my hope and faith.”
Guerrero said he will continue to plead his case, saying he is searching for community organizations and church groups to help raise awareness and appeal to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office not to evict his family.
Passmore, on Monday, refused to comment on any plans for the Circle Avenue property.
Glinke said the village has no position on the situation moving forward, calling it a “civil matter.” He also said he has not been in contact with Passmore, Longstreet’s owner.
As reported by the Review last week, Guerrero stopped paying taxes on the home in 2011. The 52-year-old and his siblings had argued over the property since their father’s unexpected death in 2005. Guerrero, who had been living in the home and paying the property tax and utility bills, had tried to transfer the home’s title, originally deeded to his father, brother and cousin, to himself. His efforts were unsuccessful.
The 2015 tax bill, paid in two installments, totaled just under $4,300, according to the Cook County Treasurer’s Office.
A 2015 assessment valued the 101-year-old home at $145,500.