Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Owner of Essex Wire property ordered to personally pay $216K fine or face jail

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD — The owner of the dilapidated Essex Wire property on North Main Street, on Wednesday, was ordered to pay a total of $216,000 in fines or possibly face jail time.

Judge Lisa Fabiano ordered Paul Bennett of A.W. Enterprises to pay $108,000 within two weeks; the other $108,000 is due in 30 days.

The order comes after Bennett failed to obey an order to demolish the shuttered factory he previously planned to redevelop into an apartment complex.

According to contempt order, Bennett willfully and contumaciously failed to comply with court-ordered demolition of what’s left of the factory. It also states that if he fails to make the first payment or complete the demolition within 14 days, the city will seek further personal sanctions against, including seizure of assets. He could also face time in jail.

Fabiano also ordered that funds in Bennett’s corporate account be turned over within 14 days and that any future income be held. Bennett’s company also prohibited from making any other payments or distributions to any other person or entity until the $216,000 sanction is satisfied.

The Essex property cannot be sold unless sufficient funds are escrowed at closing to pay the cost of the demolition.

Bennett was not present in court Wednesday. He is scheduled to appear in court again Jan. 3. He is represented by attorney Paul Vella. R.


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