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Trial delayed in Rantoul-area apartment sewer case

By Pam G. Dempsey/CHAMPAIGN '“  The trial of a Champaign father-son landlord team scheduled for Monday has been continued to Feb. 28.

The pair, Bernard Ramos and his father, Eduardo, have yet to comply with an agreement they made with the Champaign County Public Health Department in December to vacate five of the eight buildings at Cherry Orchard Apartments, a complex south of Rantoul. The Ramoses oversee the property, which is mainly used to house migrant workers.

The agreement is part of an ongoing three-year-old case the health department has brought against the two for failing to legally connect the property's sewer and septic system.

The health department's case is based on a September 2007 complaint where inspectors noticed sewage and wastewater flowing from the property's septic system into a nearby farm field.

When approached for comment after Monday's hearing, Bernard Ramos shook his head no. He hung up when contacted later by phone.

The health department took measures earlier this month to assist residents who remained in the complex. The Salvation Army and health department officials have helped some tenants find temporary housing.

As of Monday, two of the five buildings are still occupied, said Julie Pryde, administrator of the Champaign County Public Health Department.


Public health administrators want to see the property vacated until a legal septic system is in place, assistant state's attorney Susan McGrath said.

The state's attorney's office plans to file an additional complaint on behalf of the county's planning and zoning department for violations of the county's revised nuisance ordinance at Cherry Orchard Apartments, said Christina Papavasiliou, assistant state's attorney who is representing the county.  This would be the first complaint filed under the revised ordinance, which better defines dangerous structures and allow stronger enforcement when life and safety are endangered.

The trial is now scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 28. 

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