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Hilco Must Pay Little Village Residents $12.25 Million Settlement Over Botched Implosion

By March 20, 2024March 28th, 2024Environment, Health, Trending

Little Village residents, property owners and anyone present during the Easter weekend implosion can submit a settlement claim by Tuesday, March 26.

Max Herman
The shuttered Crawford Generating Station is seen alongside the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on January 9, 2020, three months before a botched implosion of a smokestack covered the Little Village neighborhood in dust.
By March 20, 2024March 28th, 2024Environment, Health, Trending

Little Village residents, property owners and anyone present during the Easter weekend implosion can submit a settlement claim by Tuesday, March 26.

Nearly four years ago, Little Village homes and streets were blanketed in dust after a botched implosion at the Crawford Coal Plant. A federal court recently ruled Hilco Redevelopment Partners must pay $12.25 million for damages stemming from the April 11 implosion as part of a class-action lawsuit.  

Now, Little Village residents, property owners and anyone present, regardless of immigration status, can submit a claim to receive cash payments for the damages. All claims must be filed by Tuesday, March 26.

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Those affected can file their settlement claims on the Little Village Smokestack website here. The settlement boundaries generally cover Cermak Road, California Avenue, 33rd Street and Kilbourn Ave.

Residents who file personal injury claims will likely receive cash payments of $200 to $400, depending on the number of claims filed and approved, according to the notice. Payments are expected to be distributed in late June. 

The District Court of Illinois, 219 S. Dearborn St., will hear arguments in courtroom 1858 on the settlement’s fairness at 9:30 a.m. on April 22.

Before the 2020 implosion, residents and activists called for robust safety measures during the demolition phase. They pleaded with city officials to halt the implosion, fearing it would further exacerbate ongoing health difficulties amid historical environmental injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Little Village is among the neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West sides designated as an environmental justice community, disproportionately overburdened by pollution

“The Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), along with community partners and allies, we tried… delaying the implosion,” said Edith Tovar, the senior Just Transition organizer at LVEJO. “But unfortunately, things went down the way they did. And so what we saw was the aftermath of this huge toxic cloud covering blocks of the neighborhood.”

The implosion was the subject of multiple investigations, and Hilco received fines from the city and state for the mismanaged demolition. In the aftermath, city laws on implosions were revamped amid severe criticism.

In the federal class-action lawsuit filed in 2020, Antonio Solis, Jose Solis, Juan Rangel and other residents sued Hilco and their partners for “misconduct” of creating the dust cloud that has caused “distress, nuisance, and property damage” in the neighborhood.

Hilco has agreed to settle but has not admitted to any wrongdoing. 

Little Village residents, property owners and visitors in the highlighted boundaries of the Crawford coal plant implosion on April 11, 2020, can submit a claim by March 26, 2024.Hilco Settlement Website

The settlement has garnered mixed reactions from the Little Village community, with some ready to close the door on the implosion and others feeling as though they should have received more, Tovar said.

“There’s some folks that are just like, well, we’ve done all we could, right?” Tovar said. “Others are saying: ‘This is a worldwide corporation. And they’re giving us pennies.’”

Some residents have been wary of filing a settlement claim because of their immigration status, but Tovar said anyone, even if they are undocumented, can apply for the cash payments through the settlement. She added that people who were tenants in properties impacted during the implosion can also apply for property damage claims. 

Applicants can submit proof, such as receipts, of costs of any cleaning equipment or outside services hired to help clean their property for their property claims.

Anyone with questions about filing a claim or the settlement can call 1-877-272-4962 or email