The placard on the door of 105 Shorewood Lane declaring the house uninhabitable was put there so long ago it has faded from orange to white and its warning is unreadable.
But neighbors remember the day a worker slapped the sticker on the door nearly 11 months ago.
“All of Shorewood was there,” said a neighbor. “I watched the come out, full masks on, tanks on.”
This neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said five fire trucks and “several squad cars” responded after a man distributing fliers door-to-door reported that “it smelled like there was a dead body in there.”
The and firefighters who showed up didn’t find a dead body, but Shorewood Building Inspector David Myers said a natural gas leak was discovered and that there was gas build up, along with pooling water, in the basement.
Village workers cut off gas and water to the home, and have left it that way.
“We have not been in there since January,” Myers said. “Once it’s placarded, we make sure no one’s inhabiting it.”
The neighbor said he was told by firefighters that black mold had grown three to four feet high up the walls. Myers said he has no knowledge of any mold.
Home away from homeowner
Myers said he does not even know who owns the house or lived in it. But neighbors said state Rep. Jack McGuire (D-Joliet) and his wife, Patsy McGuire, lived there together until someone confronted him about residing outside his district.
Next-door neighbor Tim Mitchell said he witnessed this confrontation six years ago and told how a mystery man waited in a parked car for McGuire to emerge for work in the morning.
“Since that incident, there’s been no one” living in the house, Mitchell said.
Patsy McGuire confirmed that she and Jack McGuire lived together in her Shorewood house “when we first got married,” which she recalled as being in 2000 or 2001.
Patsy McGuire could not remember when they left for Jack McGuire’s long-time home on Glenwood Avenue in Joliet, but insisted the move was not prompted by an unknown person confronting the representative about living outside his district.
Patsy McGuire then said Jack McGuire actually did not live there at all but sometimes spent the night. She proceeded to claim that he only left his car in the driveway to discourage someone who was “prowling around” and once startled her college-age daughter.
Patsy and Jack McGuire initially attempted to explain their situation on a conference call, but Patsy McGuire quickly commandeered the phone and refused to let her husband rejoin the conversation.
She accused at least one neighbor of unspecified questionable behavior and was dismissive of her neighbors' complaints in general.
“I think I feel this is an invasion,” Patsy McGuire said. “I’m sure I’m not the only one with an empty house right now. If you could find me a bank to lend me money, I’ll take care of it.”
Empty house hardships
Mitchell believes the vacant house is driving down the value of his own home and those of others living nearby.
“The only reason I put my fence up is so I don’t have to look at (McGuire’s house),” he said.
Mitchell also said the police have stickered abandoned cars left in Patsy McGuire’s driveway. Police Chief Aaron Klima confirmed this and noted that his department secured its first ever court order to tow an abandoned car off private property for a vehicle that was left in the driveway of Patsy McGuire's house.
But Patsy McGuire insisted her Shorewood home was in good shape, despite being unable to remember when she last saw it.
“I’m not one of the rich people in Shorewood,” she said of her failure to fix the place up further.
“It would be different if I wasn’t paying taxes,” Patsy McGuire said. “I keep the grass cut.”
The city of Joliet was recently presented with a request to name part of Glenwood Avenue for McGuire, said City Manager Tom Thanas. The request for the honorary designation was put on hold while the city looks into crafting a formal policy for such matters, Thanas said.
One neighbor suggested that Shorewood Lane should be named after McGuire instead.
McGuire did not respond to questions and did not comment on the neighbor’s complaints. Patsy McGuire, who controlled their end of the conversation, was steadfast in claiming neither he nor she have done anything inappropriate.
“If I’m guilty of anything,” she said, “it’s of being poor.”