A Tale of Two Cities | S1 E4


When Dickie Nichols was a kid growing up north Lonsdale in the early nineteen nineties, he knew that lurking near his home was an evil rabbit. A myth day. It was evil rabbit up the it was a grow. Rabid used the chase key with reate. I. Reate. I still remember that is the change. We will looking for what they never see the evil rabbit. This evil rabbit roamed the neighborhoods hills and mountains. The ones made from construction debris. Older boys told this story to younger kids like day key to keep them away. It didn't work. We played up there. Everything plead Haggos seeing that was our Goto does what we did. We played up there everything. A lot of fun times. Lot of fun town main when his snow will use them as slaves. We get sleds and sled down when the summertime, Roger bites up and down the hill because there was that big of a, he'll. That was fun. From up on the hills Daiki and his friends could look down onto the roof of their elementary school and see all the basketballs and football's the neighborhood kids have gotten stuck up there over the years and they could look east towards the horizon and see all the skyscrapers downtown grass and plants and trees. Sprouted from the concrete hells old mattresses became trampolines. Junked out cars became jungle. Gyms does what we need. It does what the neighborhood needed as a kid because it wasn't no park. I mean, it was no part in Nigeria, but as an adult is a as us oil is about the community down. These hills, this mountain were John Christopher's illegal landfill. Of course by now six stories, high two whole city blocks wide and five city blocks long. The piles had been that way for two years, which to a kid was basically forever. At this point, the hills were just part of the neighborhoods, geography. There is a doughnut factory on one side of the dump where Daiki and his friends would dumpster dive for discarded treats instead of using the streets to get their cutting through the hills was often safer or just more fun. We don't know that we just knew you gotta go through the four is to get to the the don't affect. So I remember waiting for have full in the house and dead dead. Probably got us through the week was was the in donuts hick cakes cookies, spend enough time on a six story mountain of rubble, and someone is bound to get hurt. Deke remembers this one time around. Grade when he and his brother were playing, their Daiki was rolling rocks and chunks of concrete down the side of the mountain. And one of them rolled towards his brother you road over his finger and it was hanging off. So I had to hold it together and I had the walk him all the way home holding his finger on into. We got to the hospital, they hit the it. They had the spin about two or three days in a hospital because it was it was off. At the beginning of our story when the trucks will have construction, debris first appeared in north Lonsdale Dolores Robinson was a math teacher at Sumner elementary school. Eventually she became the principal, but she still struggled to keep her students out of the dumps day. He was one of them in them, like, stop it. I don't want you doing that. That's what I'm looking out the window at you. And so what I know the boys who were, you know, playful and athletic. So MS Robinson installed a regular teachers patrol to keep is on the kids coming and going from school. It wasn't just accidents like the kind Deke Nichols is brother had suffered that worried her or evil rabbits. It was reported. The body was found miss Robinson, didn't know whether it was true or not, but she repeated attor students like the story of the evil rabbit. It was a way of scaring them away from the dumps. As it turned out, she wasn't the only Chicago educator trying to shield her students from a dump like this because across town in a white neighborhood one where residents had the ear of the city's powerbrokers a new dump next to another school was also on the rise, the steps that parents and kids would take to protect these two neighborhoods, one white and one black got very different responses from the people in power. I'm Robin, EMA, and from USA today, this is the city. If you like the city, you may like another show from USA today. The five things podcast covers the five most important stories of the day and why they matter in less than five minutes. New episodes are available every morning, Monday through Saturday, and you can subscribe to five things for free on apple podcasts or wherever you listen. Before we tell you about the dump in the white neighborhood across town. Let's recap what's happened in north Lauderdale since our story began after John Christopher showed up and started dumping neighborhood residents organized. They wrote letters to elected officials. They confronted John Christopher. They helped initiate a lawsuit against him and his companies. The lawsuit did not stop him from dumping and the mountain of rubble continued to grow as did the threat. It posed to the people of north Lonsdale. However, there was still a chance that the court could rule in the neighborhoods favor. Our reporter Wilson Sayer picks up the story from here. North Llandough residents had now been fighting the illegal dumps for two years frustrated by how long the problem had dragged on. They started looking for new ways to fight John Christopher, a group of people. We start a protest and we will stand out there with signs that's Michelle Ashford. Remember she was a teenager back then when the dust from the dump would get caught in her lip gloss, it was getting worse instead of getting better. We were just constantly protests in about this dump the Ashford's protested as a family, Michelle's mom. Rita Ashford was on the front lines because if you recall three of her grandkids and many of her neighbors kids were in and out of the hospital with severe asthma. So the first time we went down there, you know, we just marched with says, different stuff like that. They made signs that called out John Christopher by name down with John and dumped the dumps. The truck steel rode in trucks there. Well, doubt it did make a difference that we out there. So they went bigger one time. They borrowed a bus from I Corinthians church just down the road and used it to block the entrance to the lot. Another time, a neighborhood elder named Rosie. Lee Brown actually laid down in the street in front of the trucks. A rolls lay down in the driveway. She was stopped the truck, some coming in and trucks going out because they were still hauled in the the rocks and they were still holding out to concrete. But then old lady was worry. I'm gonna tell you and she actually this. I got my feet wet. This protest attracted the attention of the police who showed up at the law, but not to stop the legal dumping because they were saying, well, it's private property off like that, and they were really like they will. We're going to arrest her because she wouldn't move. While residents were literally laying in the street, the lawsuit that was supposed to stop. John Christopher was still dragging on. Remember there had been a fight over the definition of waste and twice. A judge had decided not to halt the dumping, but finally in February nineteen ninety two. The court ruled against John Christopher. All of his material was in fact waste, meaning his dumps were illegal and had to go. But the victory would prove to be hollow because there was still the question of how to clean up the dump. In March of that year, the court held a hearing to rule on the cleanup who should do it and how long it should take. This court will be as follows. We don't have a recording of what happened at this hearing, but as we done before, we had some actors dramatize scenes from court taken verbatim from transcripts. You'll remember some of the players you're on our police, the core. This is Susan her Dina, a lawyer for the city of Chicago, sir. Would you state your name for the record? Please? James grainy the lawyer for John Christopher, the man responsible for the dumps and John Christopher the man himself and one new voice who could not have made his disdain for this case anymore apparent. Judge Lester foreman. This case goes to the appellate court. This court will be ousted a jurisdiction. I don't know that I've sent my prayers enough to hope that that can happen to me. Judge foreman wasn't the only one tired of this case you're on are you? And all of us have lived with this case for quite a few months. I know I don't need to remind you about that. The primary question here today. Your honor is how long this cleanup should take. How long the residents of north Lonsdale would have to continue living next to this dump John Christopher's lawyer. I tries to argue that his client can't afford to clean up the site unless he's allowed to keep dumping if he's not earning money off the dumps, then he won't have money to pay for the cleanup. Thank you. Your honor. If this man is not there to continue to operate that site to maintain the premises. All that would result in is putting the man out of business. I, it's not going to result in the materials being moved, and if this man is not there to continue to operate that site, you're going to have a worse situation now than what we're trying to resolve the city of Chicago won't clean it up if we mmediately put them out of business. No one's gonna clean this site. Oh, I submit to the court that my client doesn't have the financial wherewithal. The cleanup is site. Judge Forman doesn't buy this argument though. He's already ruled that the dumps are illegal, the dumping must stop. So judge Forman rejects this request and the case moves onto the cleanup. And notice in what follows that the debate over how quickly the dumps should be cleaned up, doesn't take into account the people with asthma or damage to people's homes or danger posed to elementary school kids. Instead the city proposes a timeline for the cleanup. That's all about trucks and weights and money. They factor in how much the average dump truck can hold twenty two tonnes and how long it would take to Phillips said dump trucks, roughly seven minutes and how many working days are aren't a year, two hundred and fifty five and how much stuff there was on the site approximately thirty one thousand four hundred twenty five truckloads the city wanted the judge to force John Christopher to clean up the dumps within thirteen. Months, but John Christopher argues that even that wasn't enough time, he wanted at least double that a minimum of twenty six months because when John Christopher gets up to the stand to testify, he says, he doesn't have the equipment on which the city based. It's time line defense calls John Christopher to the stand. Sir. Would you state your name for the record, please? John Christopher? All right. And what you relationship with Christiane construction company. I'm the president of Christiane construction. How many twenty ton trucks Christiane construction company own at the present time ten and the capacity of those is twenty tonnes. Yes, sir. All right. Now, Christiane construction avenue, twenty four, ten trucks. Do you have any twenty four t know. Does he have any other trucks besides these? Do you have any other trucks besides these ten twenty ton trucks have pickup trucks, three quarter, ton pickup chip size. Then after hearing all of this back and forth, the judge finally rules on how much time John Christopher will have to clean up the site. The order of this court will be as follows on questionably. These matters where you must balance the public interests against the private interest of business person. Corporation or entrepreneur who's operating a business that is unquestionably difficult bounce. I think it would be very narrow process on the part of this court to take a very short sighted and all overly aggressive attitude towards his up because I believe that the purpose of this court should be to accomplish a result rather than to come up with a judgment that looks good and appears to be very strict at this moment, which would be nothing more than giving somebody a chocolate covered aspirin, it'll taste sweep. It'd be sour going down. By the city's own estimate at the kill their site. We're talking about thirty one thousand four hundred twenty five truckloads stop and think what a lion would look like with thirty one thousand four hundred twenty five trucks lined up that perhaps would be a line that would take a road from one end of the city to the other. We're talking about an accomplishment of what I consider to be a gigantic task. The defendant will have thirty months within which to remove from this site. I believe that that is a reasonable length of time that takes into consideration the magnitude of the number of truckloads. We're talking about thirty months, John Christopher, lost the case, but he would have thirty months two and a half years to clear out of north Mondale longer than he'd asked for and longer than he'd been there in the first place. And again, judge forms decision was all about junk Christopher and his business and his money. None of it was about what would happen to Northland l. residents if the dumps were not cleaned up quickly, even with this very lengthy time line one that gave John Christopher more than what he'd asked for. He did the opposite of cleaning up the mountains. John Christopher did exactly as he had threatened to do when residents I confronted him at the lot. Well, John, Chris, Rebecca. Basically. Dispirit Henry Henderson. The city lawyer helped initiate the suit against John Christopher. By the time the case wrapped up. He become Commissioner of a brand new department within Chicago city government, the department of environment. The department was created in part to tackle big intractable problems like John Christopher's dumps. But despite Henderson's new role as the head of a city agency, he seemed unable to pin John Christopher down. You know, he popped up in other locations with different identity Hughes, John veto for awhile, and you know, occasionally people would catch sight of him. We got one of our inspectors would say, I saw John Christopher and he drove off, you know, he was very good at being being scared. Unable to find John Christopher the city couldn't force him to conduct the cleanup or collect any fines for him failing to do so. And now the city was stuck with more than thirty one thousand truckloads of debris that it couldn't get rid of. Now you've got to figure out how to clean it up. How do we find out something like this. The city failed to hold John Christopher accountable. Nine hundred ninety two past then nineteen Ninety-three then nineteen Ninety-four. Daiki Nichols moved from fourth grade to fifth to sixth and John Christopher's illegal dumps still marred the landscape. And then the city heard about another dump in another neighborhood. A mostly white, mostly well off neighborhood, and the story of that dump played out very differently than the one in north Dale. That's after the break. The city is grateful to have bombed us as a sponsor of the show. How often do you think about your socks? Probably only when you need to buy new ones and if you're like most of us, you don't even end up loving the ones you buy bombos is here to change all that made from super soft cotton bomb socks. Stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and every pair comes with features like honeycomb, arch support, a seamless toe and Bomba's innovative, stay up technology. 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It wouldn't have been the fourteenth forty, seven ward. It would have been gone. Each of these wards was either affluent or politically connected or both. And in the case of the forty, seventh ward majority white given Chicago's racial divisions. It seemed unlikely to me at least at first that a dump like the ones that popped up north Lonsdale would ever pop up in a wealthy white neighborhood in Chicago, but Wilson has been reporting on a dump that actually did show up in a white neighborhood in nineteen Ninety-four. So now we get to test out Conrad Henry's theory that dumped in say, the forty. Seventh ward would've been gone like that. Let's go back to Wilson. There's a sign lane, tack college prep school of champions. Wow. Oh, my. If looks like like Yale, like Ivy league university, red brick, gothic architecture. The dome was right next to one of Chicago's most prestigious public high schools lane tack. This school pulls in some of the highest performing students from around the city and boasts. An impressive roster of alumni Chicago artists. The Astro gates went to lane tack President, Bill Clinton's chief of staff, John Podesta one. They're also surprising number of pro baseball and football players graduated from school. Vivian Rankin who's youngest daughter was a junior lane tech. The time remembers on the dumping I began all of a sudden there were fifty trucks. Our pulling in and out huge semis were coming in. They would come down one St. and go out, go out another and just dump this stuff. I found a video online of what happened at lane tech in nineteen ninety four. I washed it with Vivian Rankin and her husband Bill Rankin who used to teach at lane tack. This is. Yeah. Okay. Got lane tech there. This. That's the stadium. The stadium and then school. The video is basically a home movie. We found on YouTube chop by local resident. In the video. You can see two story mountain of debris next to this high school truck. After truck turns onto the street, aside linked, tack trucks would drive into the lot next to the school and dump their cargo. The same kind of stuff that was dumped in north Lonsdale roken pieces of concrete dirt and other construction debris, and you can see the. Chris rock to be crushed the bulldozer on the top. Just west of that state. I think it was higher than there could have been. Yeah. The piles grew to be level with the top of the bleachers at the football stadium there so close. It almost looks like you could have walked off the top of the grandstand right onto the hills of debris at the time. Mr. Rankin was a member of the school council which met twice a week in the mornings. And soon after the pile showed up teachers and parents started to come in and complain about the dust and the shaking and the trucks because this time when. The school is not air conditioned. Windows were open, and it was the dust in the noise and the teachers were complaining about and the kids they were aware of as well. For me, the major issue is health. It's health and safety, five thousand kids. So even if they don't have much today could a six month exposure to that creepy crap created your shoe. We don't know. These were the same health and safety concerns. Dolores Robinson and Michelle and Rita Ashford. And so many others had over north lawn Dale. And again, this was nineteen ninety four at which point north Lonzo had been dealing with all of this for almost four years. The operation next to lane tack was run by a company called Ploto construction in north Wandel. John Christopher had gone to alderman Bill Henry for permission to set up his rock crushing operating and hear plea had gone to the two aldermen whose wards bordered the school Eugene shelter and dick Mel, I reached out to both of them multiple times for an interview. Neither responded plenty was repaving the Kennedy expressway, a major highway running from downtown to O'Hare airport. The highway pass a mile and a half from lane tech and so plenty was trucking in broken up pieces of the old highway to this lot. Next to the school, there were crushing it into gravel and then carting it back out to the highway to repave the road surface. Remember repaving the Kennedy and other highways was part of then Richard Daley's so-called renaissance. Some of the debris from those projects ended up. Northland, Dale. And now next to lane tack word about plays dump, slash rock crushing operation and this crappy crap. Next to a school made its way to the city's department of environment to the desk of Henry Henderson, serious outcry from neighbors, serious complaints from parents of people at lane. Tech kids were having real problems with reading and neighbors were not happy with the truck traffic and were raged by what was happening there Henderson new plenty, didn't have a permit to dump their because he'd have been the person to issue on. So Henderson grabbed a colleague. They hopped in a car and drove up to lane tack to see what was going on. They saw all these piles of debris and the trucks coming in and out and the crusher crushing rocks into gravel. So I said, you know, look, I'm commission environment and I have thirty said. You've got to stop this and they basically said, you know, go crush rock where the sun don't shine. So Henry Henderson called the cops, five squad cars showed up. Police came over and said, stop it immediately. Remember the police had also been called to north Lonsdale. In that case, the police were there to protect the dumpers. But when the police came to lane tech, they stopped the rock. Crushing Henderson did give plenty a temporary permit to keep dumping at least until they could figure out where the stuff could go. When asked why he'd give me a permit, even temporary one Henderson pulled the press quote. I couldn't shut down the Kennedy people would be outraged by the inconvenience, but the rankings and other lane tech parents and students, one of the piles gone. So they did exactly with the parents and students had done in north Lonsdale. They protested. Here's Bill and Vivian rank. And again, some of the kids actually laid down in front of the trucks so they couldn't get to the crusher. Didn't take very many. They were, I think, are mostly football players. I recall enough to be pesty and then someone has to come out and say, okay, get off the ground. It doesn't take a lot. It doesn't take a lot WGN channel. Nine local TV news station was just two blocks away from lane tech, the rankings. Remember students from the school's video club, filming the dump, and then giving the footage to the station. Pretty soon the lane tuck dump was all over the news TV, and the papers in a way that northbound l. had never been bad publicity is something that politicians just don't like. And so if you can get that and if you can get a newspaper or TV station, then usually you can stop at outcry from students and parents and the media resulted in a community meeting. Henry Henderson was there Bill and Vivian rank. And were there cloudy? Was there the alderman where their kids came out, parents came out community groups, school groups, health groups, the American lung association was there. The near cancers society had representatives that came to meetings. These families were able to get national organizations, people with clout and power to show up in support of their cause inside lane tax, fancy art, deco auditorium person after person got up and told plenty and the aldermen that they wanted the dumps gone yesterday at first plea pushed back. I think the floaty company tried to say what they were doing was not handful in any way. But then one of Bill rankings, friends, which shot video of the dumb plead it for the audience took dumping stuff. The showed that dust clouds coming up, then the banging of the crusher showed all of them. We reached out to Pluto to ask them about this incident, but the company declined comment as for the alderman who originally given cloudy permission to be there. Dick Mel dug in his heels and continued to support the operation at the time. He was recorded to have said that the Kennedy construction project was already dirty and noisy. So why worry about a few more trucks, but the other alderman Eugene shelter cracked under the pressure and switched sides, saying, quote, under no circumstance, will I find this an acceptable activity and quote, and with the protests and the media coverage digit was up. News of the lane tech Dems, went all the way to the top to mayor Daley himself a few weeks after that community meeting at the recommendation of Henry Henderson, daily announced that he would be cracking down on rock crushing sites that quote come in and environmentally destroyed the community. The mayor fancied himself an environmentalist daily would later put a green roof on top of city hall. He was after all the one who created the department of environment in the first place, and the one who had hired Henry Henderson to run it daily had never said a word publicly about the dumps in north Lauderdale. But here he personally ordered a shutdown of the site. Next to lane tack employees didn't even try to fight the mayor at least not publicly quietly seemingly overnight Ploto loaded up truck after truck Encarta the mountains of debris away from lane tack. To get rid of the dump next to their school and homes lane tech, parents and teachers wrote letters made calls organized protests. In other words, they did exactly the same things. People north Lonzo had done with very different results. The cries of lane tech parents did not fall on deaf ears. Their complaints were not bogged down by endless court proceedings. Apparently when you've got the mayor of Chicago on your side, you don't even need to go to court. The dumps in north Lonsdale plagued the neighborhood for years. The lane tech dump was gone in a matter of weeks. In other words, the city listened to the lane tech community and took action in a way that it had not in north London. Why that's coming up after the break. For decades. 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The situation at lane tack on the situation in north Lonsdale could not have played out more differently. If you ask why activists, dad, Bill rank and says, it's because he and his neighbors did something different something more effective than what residents in north Llandough must have done. If you're going to do something that makes people change, you have to do something that they have to react to, and you know you can write a letter and they'll ignore it. You can go standby there. As soon as you leave, they'll ignore you or you know, you can make telephone calls, but the the big thing is that they have to react. We know Mr. Rankin is wrong. North Lonsdale residents did the same thing that lane tack parents had done, but he's also right in the sense that the powers that be did not react to north longdale the same way they did to lane tack. Wilson looks at why in segregated Chacao. Ago. North side is often used as a shorthand for the white side of town and south and west sides. For the black and Brown neighborhoods, it's an oversimplification, but it's used all the time reporter bend your Ascii. We heard in our last episode reported on the lane Technumn in nineteen ninety four draught ski says residents on the north side like those who live near lane, tack have come to expect more from the city and suddenly nor ciders Gullo little taste of what it's like to live on the southwest side men. They didn't weren't happy with Otis the difference in how the city reacted on. We're not gonna put up with that. There's a difference between entitlement. You know, that's the difference between a city that responds to certain constituents and one end of town, and they don't respond to constituents on the other end down. Jurassic says, and the record makes clear that it wasn't what residents did that made the difference. It was how city powerbrokers reacted. When Leanne TEK parents complained. City officials came out quickly. The TV news media took notice when the police showed up. They were there to stop the dumping instead of protect the dumpers pressure from parents force alderman shelter to take their sign. When community meetings were called, national organizations showed up to support the cause and mayor Daley himself stepped in to shut down the dump. In other words, the lean tech community mostly white, mostly well off had political power. What in Chicago we'd call clout. So now we need to revisit or blame list because some of the people on that list are powerbrokers reacted very differently to the police from north Lonsdale parents like. MS Ashford and those of lane tech parents like Mr. Rankin and we should start with the press and reporters like bender Ascii his piece for the reader about lane tack back in nineteen. Ninety four was called crushing the Kennedy. The story of a really stupid idea you you wrote about the lane Tech's. Did you ever write about the dump in north London? So no, I never wrote a. I didn't follow it. Most of the stuff I did was like people would call me with story ideas. If someone called me, it would have been totally different. I would have like plugged in person there, some news outlets, namely black owned ones like the Chicago defender did write about the northbound Dale dumps, but no TV crews made it out there. There wasn't a TV stations across the street, and historically, the Chicago press corps has done a poor job of comprehensively covering the south and west sides. So back to our blameless te next up, we have to go to Henry Henderson in both north Lonsdale and at lane tech. He personally drove out to inspect the dumps, but at lane tech, he brought the cops with him and shut down the dump immediately. I asked him about this when we spoke, the thing that really jumped out at me was that picture of you showing up at lane, tack confronting the guys from floaty and then bringing the cops into say, no, you have to stop this immediately and I have to ask you, did you ever do that in north Lonsdale? Did you ever go to north Lonsdale with a police escort to confront John Christopher and say, you have to stop this now. Did not bring the place because I don't know. I didn't bring the place, but the fact is that those experiences informed. What we need to do subsequently. So it's like, how do you prosecute these things better? So you learned by doing essentially hundreds and argued that he learned his lesson the hard way because the court battle proved if you did not stop the dumping right away before it got bad, the dumps would get so big. You'd be facing this monumental problem that could not be stopped or fixed overnight and four years later, he applied those lessons to lane tack. Except there's no reason. Henry Henderson couldn't have called the police to restaurant Christopher, especially once he was in violation of the court order. At this point, the city's response is basically a well. We can't find him. And to me, that feels like Henry Henderson felt the pressure of lane tech parents more, and therefore he acted more quickly. And then there's the guy Henderson reported to the mayor where was mayor Mr.. I love trees again bender Ascii leave hunters at alone. He's just a bureaucrat daily was the guy where was daily? Why wasn't daily looking out for the interests of the kids? Although Henderson had a lot of power as a city Commissioner mayor, Daley had more a lot more. You can go through the courts plead with government agencies, or you can get dailies attention and he can snap his fingers and get it done. Take the story of makes field. It's almost Chicago Lor at this point. It happened years later, but it showed how daily behaved when he cared about something makes field was an airport. One way built on an artificial peninsula that stuck into Lake, Michigan. It was right next to Soldier Field where the Chicago Bears play and the natural history museum and the planetarium prime real estate and daily wanted a park instead of an airport. So he sent construction workers out in the middle of the night and tore big x. The runway mayor, Daley with to makes field in the middle of the night and tore up a runway said, fuck you to the federal government. See in court made up an excuse for saying, oh, terrorists are gonna, knock down our city, and yet we can't get a dump off land in our city. I don't think so. In other words, spend says, if daily wanted. Something done it got done. If you had one of the dumps Northland Elgon they would have been gone people in Chicago government who could have come out in the middle of the night and dealt with the dumps in north London never showed up Billy care about the people that neighborhood. They didn't care about that they allowed that dump to exist for years that this dump got one month. It was gone on the north side, so I don't buy it. Mayor, Daley, simply said of Claudy construction company quote, they have to find another site. That's their problem. And quote daily did not do the same for north Lauderdale we reached out to daily for comment, but he never responded to our requests. Although Henry Henderson had not been able to catch Christopher and despite the fact that Henderson's boss seemed not to care enough to personally intervene Henderson told us that during this time he had also been trying to get help from the state and federal governments to stop and then clean up the north Lauderdale dumps. So eventually in late nineteen, ninety four and early nineteen ninety-five, the state and federal environmental protection agency's finally came out to north Lonsdale to clean up the dumps. This could have been the end of our story, but it isn't over the years. John Christopher's dumps had attracted more than just construction. Debris fly by night numbers had left behind these fifty gallon drums of silver goo and read a novel and other mystery chemicals plus old roofing material tires, carpet window frames, even car. There's so when the Illinois and US EPA as came to clean up the dump. This was the stuff they were interested in the US EPA declined to talk to us, but a Representative from the Illinois EPA who was involved in the cleanup, told us that the agency was more concerned about the hazardous material than what they called the clean construction debris. So even these environmental protection agencies were not interested in the six stories of rebel, they were not interested in removing the mountain. The mountain at the Ashford's believe gave their family and neighbors asthma, the mountain that Rosalie Brown head lane in the street to protest the mountain that Daiki Nichols is a little brother, almost lost a finger to the environmental agencies did not see the mountain as their problem. So they walked away leaving almost all of John Christopher's mess behind. So Henry Anderson made one more call. To a friend of his who worked for the department of Justice. So you know, we're having real hard time. We're hearing, you know, this John Christopher is much larger than what we can do. And we think that this is a larger criminal endeavor here, and we really need some help. It was clearly before I knew of John Christopher's relationship with with federal government. The federal government's Jong Christopher wasn't just a shady ways taller. He was working for the federal government undercover that's next time on the city. The city is a production of USA today and is distributed in partnership with wondering, you can subscribe to the show on apple podcasts, NPR one or wherever you're listening right now if you like the show please rate and review us and be sure to tell your friends about us. Our show is reported and produced by Wilson Sayer and Jenny Koss with me Robyn Aamer. Sam Greenspan is our editor. Ben Austin is our story consultant. Original music and mixing is by Hannah's Brown, Jennifer Mudge, Chris Henry Coffey, David Dublin, ger, and Michael Cullen starred in our reenactments. Additional production by Taylor making Isabelle cockerel and Bianca media's Chris Davis is our VP for investigations. Our executive producer is Liz Nelson. The USA today, networks, president and publisher is mayor bell. Wadsworth special. Thanks to Michelle Yussef and Daniel sped cove and Gary Siegman for permission to use his film of the lane. Tech dump. Additional support comes from the fund for investigative journalism and the social Justice news nexus, and Northwestern University. If you like this show, you may also like WBZ's new podcast on background, which takes you inside the smoke filled back rooms of Chicago and Illinois government to better understand the people places and forces. Shaping today's politics. I'm Robin Aamer. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter at the city pod or visit our website where you can find a video of the lane tech dump and more. That's the city podcast dot com.

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