BENTON, IL. (ECWd) -
According to our source in Benton, last Friday, the Zoning Officer for the City of Benton, Illinois, Dave Garavalia, decided to lock (or otherwise prevented entry) City Commissioner Donald Storey out of city hall after a verbal dispute in reference to an alleged city-owned parking lot, and the Franklin County Public Hospital District (who has been using and maintaining the parking lot for years).
Garavalia is the Zoning Officer for Benton and has also been performing legal work for the Hospital District in reference to this parking lot.
Garavalia has been working on the Hospital District purchasing it from the city, with the city placing a $53,000 price-tag on it, while Storey has been working on either donating or leasing the parking lot to the Hospital District.
During a heated debate on the subject last Thursday, Storey allegedly called Garavalia a vulgar word, and then when Storey tried entering city hall the next day, he found he was locked out of the building.
Storey was also presented (by Garavalia) a pre-typed "resignation letter" for him to sign as a hint that he wanted the Alderman to resign.
The City's Public Communications employee would not provide any comment on this situation, neither would the city attorney. We asked them to provide comment on any authority for a city employee to lock out a city commissioner from city hall.