“It’s inhumane:” Some Robbins residents still without running water, as feud between the village and a landlord continues


CHICAGO (CBS) — Some people in south suburban Robbins are going on 24-hours with no running water.

Those in apartment buildings are caught in the middle of a financial dispute between the landlord and village staff. CBS 2’s Steven Graves is at the village hall trying to get answers and getting those answers has been a back and forth.

A lot of finger pointing, all over money, has residents fuming. Many people are going to their sinks to find only drips of water coming out of the faucet. One of three apartment buildings along Central Avenue near 139th Street has no running water.

CBS 2 saw the public works department restoring water to two other buildings on Friday, this after CBS 2 spoke to both sides of the problem.

There are no broken pipes or water mains here. The motive for cutting off the water is money, funds residents say they’ve been paying, only to be left hanging dry. And now the village is even encouraging people to move out.

Theresa turns her faucet knobs in her apartment, only to see a drop of water come out.

“I have health challenges and I can’t be in stress. So this right here, is stressful,” said the Robbins resident.

She is one dozen of people in several Robbins apartment buildings along Central Avenue near 139th Street without running water.

“My kids did not go to school today because I did not want them to eat outside with everything that’s going on, and then come in and can’t wash their hands and can’t shower. It’s a lot. It’s inhumane,” added Robbins resident Chanel Brown.

Both women in one of three buildings with seven units each that are affected. Two other buildings got water back on earlier on Friday.

“It’s not like there was a water pipe burst. It’s because of a payment issue.”

Darren Bryant, the Mayor of Robbins, tells CBS 2 the water turned on after the landlord paid some of his outstanding water bill debt. He says a $137,000 balance is why the water was shut off in the first place.

“There’s no excuse for [the landlord] to take their money and not pay their water bills. It’s totally irresponsible of him but its been an ongoing problem that surpasses four years.”

But a representative of Marvin Wells, that landlord, said the city’s water meter system is unfairly charging him.

“There have been many attempts made to rectify the situation. And when you’re met with silence or non-answers then it’s frustrating from the part of building owners that you can’t move forward,” said Erica Chiang, who represents the landlord .

“We’re getting the backlash of it. And I feel like that’s unfair,” said Chanel Brown.

CBS 2 was told both parties could not agree on a payment plan to get the water on through the weekend, so bottled water is being delivered by the mayor’s team. CBS 2 reached out to state and federal leaders to see if they can step in and was told it’s being looked into.

A representative for the landlord claims Robbins’ mayor is unfairly charging him for water, and he’s not responsible for paying. All as this feud negatively affects the lives of tenants.

Residents are currently getting bottled water from the village. But why cut off water completely? Robbins’ mayor claims to have a history of issues with this landlord.

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