Court date set for Ramos
An apartment complex caretaker who was arrested earlier this month in Virginia on two contempt-of-court warrants was ordered to be back in Champaign County Circuit Court on April 26.
Eduardo Ramos was arrested March 9.
Last May, Judge John Kennedy approved two separate petitions for civil contempt of court and criminal contempt of court against Ramos and his son, Bernard Ramos, the caretakers of Cherry Orchard Village apartments, located between Rantoul and Thomasboro, for failure to follow the judge's orders.
At a compliance hearing Friday, Kennedy authorized Eduardo Ramos to be allowed to travel to Washington, D.C., for medical care.
Champaign County Assistant State's Attorney Joel Fletcher asked that Ramos be held in custody until the Cherry Orchard property is secured more effectively. The matter will be ruled upon at the April 26 hearing.
Over Fletcher's objection, Ramos was allowed to travel to Washington, D.C., where he will live with his daughter, until the next hearing. Fletcher said Ramos has kidney problems and is receiving treatment from a specialist there.
His medical condition was documented by a care provider and the daughter's testimony.
Fletcher said he also presented evidence that indicates people have had access to the Cherry Orchard property.
Julie Pryde, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District director, said Thursday that health officials have found evidence someone has been staying in the "Jones property" — the easternmost apartment building for which the Ramoses were caretakers — and that signs ordering people to keep out had either been taken down or blown down by the wind.
Boards that had been placed over windows and doors had also been tampered with. She said screws that had been used to secure the boards had been pulled out in one area, and boards over a door had been taken off.
"There was all kinds of junk in there," Pryde said.
Public health officials replaced the boards over doors and windows and put a more permanent sign at the site.
Pryde said it is "pretty evident" that someone has also been living at an A frame house at the site, in defiance of the court order.
At a bench trial last year, Kennedy ordered that the Rasmoses pay fines of $37,900 for unlawful discharge of sewage ($100 a day for 379 days), $16,000 for unlawful rental of non-compliant property ($100 a day for 160 days), $100 for failure to obtain a construction permit and $100 for unlawful repair or alteration of a sewer system.
Kennedy also ordered that the apartment complex be shut down until the sewage problems have been remedied.
The Champaign County sheriff's office served a notice to the Ramoses on April 21, 2011, to have all the tenants out of the complex six days later, according to Fletcher. However, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District found people still living at the apartment complex, and Kennedy ordered the Ramoses to appear in court to answer a petition for contempt for failing to vacate the facility.
Neither Ramos appeared in court, however, which led to Kennedy to issue the contempt-of-court orders.
The Ramoses had not been found until Eduardo Ramos was arrested in Virginia. Bernard Ramos remains at large.