Chicago Indymedia :
Chicago Indymedia

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Last Business of Maxwell Street to Close: Owner wants to go to the Supreme Court

Sunday, July 28, 2002 will be the last day for the historical Paul and Bill's Tailor Shop, 719 W. Maxwell Street. The owner, Slawko Olenczuk is the owner of both the building and the tailor shop business. He has been
fighting the University of Illinois for over a year trying to retain both his building and business.
Mr. Olenczuk, with family roots in Eastern Europe, says "I have a right to be here. I thought property rights count for something in America. I can not see how my business conflicts with a university campus, retail center, or condo complex. They are just taking my business so some other private business can get an unfair advantage.

They should not be building this new development on backs of poor and working class people. Why should I and my customers suffer so some developers can get rich."

Mr. Olenczuk, unable to afford an attorney, has been representing himself, and hoping to take this case to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Judge Joanne Lannigan of the Cook County Court-Law Division, has issued an order of eviction to take place next week. Says Mr. Olenczuk, "With these Eminent Domain cases they can take your property even though courtproceedings are still in progress. That seems wrong."

Steve Balkin, Professor of Economics at Roosevelt University comments, "Paul and Bill's Tailor Shop is a Chicago tradition that should NOT end. It's convenient, cheap, and historical. I love going there. It seems it has not been remodeled for over 50 years. It is a living museum, a step back in time. Clothing, the shmata trade, was the always theeconomic base of this area. People used to and still do bring their clothing, bought in the area, to be altered while-you-wait. Then one goes to the hot dog stands and buys a polish sausage, bringing it back to the tailor shop to eat while your clothing gets tailored. Police, firemen,aldermen, still all come here, as well an ordinary working class peopletrying a save a buck in hard times. Students are using the place to do oral history interviews. Chicago has suffered enough losses of historical places."

Balkin further says, "UIC has just removed the Maxwell Street street signs,renaming the street 13th Place. Being ashamed of your history is not agood lesson to teach students. We all need to know our roots. Soon, in
Chicago, we won't know who we are."



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