Residents of flooded Rum Village homes told to contact lawyer - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Residents of flooded Rum Village homes told to contact lawyer


Rum Village Residents are now more frustrated than ever.  They've been dealing with flooding in their homes ever since New Energy Ethanol Plant shut down in November and stopped pumping millions of gallons of water a day.  Thursday night yet another meeting was held to discuss options for fixing the flooding.  But this one comes just a week after a joint venture bought the plant for 2 point five million dollars.

So far there's still no solution.  Thursday night at the meeting residents were told to contact a lawyer.  Specifically a lawyer the city has lined up who has agreed to look into their cases for free.
Residents said that's nice but it doesn't get rid of the water, mold, and other issues in their homes.

"It's been kicking on every minute or two for quite a while."  Rum Village Resident Doug Carroll is talking about the sump pump in his basement.  He lives in the Rum Village area that's been plagued with flooding problems since the New Energy plant shut down.  He admits he's one of the lucky ones in the neighborhood.  "We're getting affected less than some of the people on the street."  But it's still not an ideal situation.  "We were already considering moving and that's put on hold indefinitely now.  Nobody's gonna want to move into this neighborhood once they know what they problems are.  Re-sale values are going to be toast."

Thursday night at the fifth public meeting on the issue City Officials said they've found a lawyer who has agreed to start a pro bono case for residents.  "I think every resident should take this piece of paper, contact Judy Fox tomorrow and start a case, find out if an insurance company is liable in this instance." 

But residents dealing with flooding want more than just being able to contact a lawyer.  Several of them stood up at the meeting and said things like, "we want action now!"  "my time is running out, my basement is breaking." and, "We're hearing the same old thing everytime we come and This is the fifth meeting, we gotta do something!"

Director of Public Works, Eric Horvath, responded by saying if private funds can come from insurance companies that needs to happen before the city uses public dollars.  "If this is an issue the homebuilder should have looked at it's an insurance issue and that needs to paid for by that mechanism before we use public funds."

After the meeting Doug Carroll said he appreciates the free lawyer but with all the health issues his neighbors are dealing with because of flooding it's, "still frustrating there's nothing we can do for immediate relief."

Councilman Oliver Davis told residents Thursday night that he's gone as far with this as he can as a Council member.  Now the Mayor and his administration needs to take this over and come up with a solution.  Thursday night he asked the Mayor's Chief of Staff to hold another meeting in two to three weeks to follow up with residents.

The Mayor's Chief of Staff told those at the meeting that they will be talking to the new owners of the plant Friday about turning the pumps back on, it's no guarantee but still something they are trying to make happen.

If you live in the Rum Village area and would like to contact the lawyer who has agreed to work on this case for free, here is her information: Judith Fox, 574-631-7795,



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