The eight top officials of the Chicago suburb of Carpentersville were released from a federal jail here today after seven agreed that it "appeared futile" to continue to disobey a federal court order.
The officials of the Village of Carpentersville spent three days in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a high-rise prison in Chicago's Loop, because they refused to issue building permits for 11 houses in the suburb.
A federal bankruptey judge, Robert L. Eisen, had ordered the officials to issue the permits after the original developer of the homes went broke. Eisen held that the officials overstepped their authority by withholding the permits.
The eight -- the village president, the village manager and six village trustees -- contended that a "moral issue" homes into the village sewer systme might flood basements and pollute the Fox River.
U.S. District Court Judge Frank W. McGarr, who sent the officials to jail Tuesday after telling them their action was "a displaced act of patriotism." released them today after seven agreed to issue the permits within a week. Permits requre approval by four of the officials.
They agreed only after Eisen on Thursday ordered U.S. marshals to issue the permits. While marshals were pondering how to carry out Eisen's order, the jailed officials met with their lawyer, Richard Husted, and initially all eight agreed to sign a pledge, "I will vote for the issuance of the building permits in question." However, on the way from the jail to the federal courthouse, one of the eight -- Village President Orville Brettman -- changed his mind and crossed his name off the pledge.
Husted told reporters, before he and the officials appeared before McGarr today, "It became apparent that the pemits weregoing to be issued whether they voted for them or not. It appeared to be futile to resist... to sit there in jail any longer."
The eight, wearing bright blue prison jumpsuits, appeared in court and Husted presented the signed pledge to McGarr.
Becaue only four votes are necessary to issue the permits, McGarr decided not to punish Brettman further.
Brettman told the judge, "The war is far from over. It is impossible for me to join in this capitulation. My intention is to fight another day."
McGarr responded. "I only hope you fight someplace else."