WGN Investigates

‘Steel’ Their Sleep: Neighbors sue steel plant

All they want is a good night’s rest.  They’d also like Finkl & Sons steel company to fix their damaged houses.  On this follow up to a WGN investigation from the summer of 2012, we find even more neighbors to the massive new South Side steel plant complaining the company’s operations are ruining the neighborhood.

“Today it was so bad that my windows cracked,” said Constance Sanders as her neighbors gathered at a nearby restaurant to talk about their lawsuit against Finkl.

“You know my bed be shaking,” said neighbor Cynthia Taylor.  Longtime resident Fayette Martin said every level of her house has shifted so that her doorways are now slanted.  She blames the operations at the Finkl plant which won’t be fully operational until the end of the year.  More than a year ago, Finkl’s CEO showed us the North Side plant operations that he’s moving south.  We were told then that he would work with complaining neighbors who claimed to have cracked windows, broken gas pipes and cracked foundations.  It appears Finkl did help them.

Fast forward to this fall and we’re talking about a new set up residents living in the shadow of the South Side plant who claim similar problems.  All new residents, except one.  Ruby Jackson talked to us two summers ago and says Finkl has ignore her numerous complaints, so she’s joining this lawsuit. “ Finkl has not spoken to me but once and that was like a year and a half ago.  That’s why I’m here because they just totally ignored me and I just want some peace,” said Jackson.  Attorneys for Jackson and her fellow neighbors say talks with Finkl & Sons were ongoing until the company backed out.  The neighbors felt they had no choice but to sue.

Finkl’s CEO refused our request for an on camera interview, but did issue this statement: “While we can’t comment on a pending legal matter, A. Finkl & Sons has a long history of working with community residents and we will continue to do so at the new plant.  The facility will be an anchor on the south side, create hundreds of jobs over time, and employ best practices based on worldwide standards of excellence.”

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