Elk Grove plumber alleges village plumbing inspector, other workers harassed him for refusing to loan his tools

By Dan Churney | Jun 17, 2015

A plumbing contractor is in federal court in Chicago, claiming his constitutional rights were violated by an Elk Grove Village building inspector, who allegedly misused his position to pump the plumber for the free use of equipment, then harassed the plumber when he refused.

Jason Roszkowiak, who runs Awesome Design Contracting and Plumbing in Elk Grove Village, filed a federal lawsuit last week against Elk Grove Village and the village's plumbing inspector, Ray Bauer. Roszkowiak maintains Bauer and the village deprived him of his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Roszkowiak is seeking more than $3 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Roszkowiak claimed from 2010 to about July 2013, Bauer, while acting as plumbing inspector, repeatedly pushed Roszkowiak to let Bauer use Roszkowiak's tools and equipment for Bauer's private business, Ray Mechanical. The items were often returned in a “non-functional condition,” Roszkowiak alleged.

Roszkowiak said Bauer's “intimidating behavior and his position of authority” caused him to feel “compelled” to go along with Bauer's requests for tools and equipment.

Around July 2013, Roszkowiak said he told Bauer he would no longer agree to Bauer's requests. Shortly after, he alleged two people arrived unannounced at his plumbing business to inspect the premises. An employee of Roszkowiak's identified the people as “paramedics.” According to Roszkowiak, one of the people “occupied” his employee with paperwork, while the other one “viewed” the building without supervision. The two people told the employee the premises were fine, then left.

A few days later, two men came to Roszkowiak's business – one man was a municipal inspector and the other identified himself as an inspector with the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal, according to Roszkowiak. The two men sought access to the premises, but the man who said he was a Fire Marshal's inspector refused to tender identification. The men were told to leave, but instead, allegedly forced their way past two employees and looked around the premises, including inside a storage locker.

Roszkowiak said he spoke with the purported Fire Marshal's inspector by telephone while the man was still at the business, telling the man he had to leave. But the man allegedly replied, “I can do any f------ thing I want. I'm the State Fire Marshal.” Roszkowiak said he contacted the Fire Marshal's Office and was told no inspection had been scheduled for the day in question.

Within the next couple of days, Roszkowiak claimed he found his storage locker ajar, a cabinet opened, equipment and materials moved, and other items scattered on the floor. Roszkowiak said he then contacted Elk Grove Village police to report he suspected village employees had burglarized his business. Roszkowiak claimed police took his information, but did nothing else. Roszkowiak added he also complained to the Elk Grove Village manager.

According to Roszkowiak, the reprisals did not end with the visit by the alleged village employees, who he believes were enlisted by Bauer. Rather, village officials then subjected his property to “various inspection requests and issues” that were “condoned by village officials” and “meant to intimidate and harass” him.

As a result, Roszkowiak claimed he has suffered anguish, as well as loss of income and business.

Palatine lawyer John C. Vojta is representing Roszkowiak. No lawyer has yet filed an appearance for Elk Grove Village or Bauer. A hearing date has not yet been set. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel.

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