URBANA – The new City Council member appointed by Mayor Marlin to fill the vacant Ward 2 seat has an unsettling history with the City of Urbana. Erik Sacks from Urbana IL was chosen by Marlin from a group of four applicants. Sacks did not have any history of engaging with the City of Urbana, but he does have a history of destroying City property.

In the summer of 2017 Sacks used lumber and nearly a dozen truckloads of dirt to build a sixty-foot-long levee along his property line. This was done to change the flow of rainwater onto Sacks’s garden. The levee caused significant flooding in the abutting City alley and created a small lake which extended nearly to the foundation of a neighboring home.

The neighboring homeowner contacted Ben Holzhausen, Urbana’s Right of Way Technician. Holzhausen inspected the levee and noted that it was illegal to redirect ground water as Sacks had done, but did not issue fines at that time. Instead, Holzhausen directed the Public Works Department to bring in new asphalt and regrade the alley to stop the flooding. This work was done in November of 2017 and it almost entirely solved the flooding issue.

For reasons that cannot be explained, Sacks became irrationally upset with the new asphalt, even though it did not affect his property in any way. In March of 2018, Sacks met with David A. Pryde, the owner of Central Paving and Sealcoating. Sacks and Pryde then agreed to rip out the City’s pavement and even conspired to do so secretly so that no one would notice. In their communications, Pryde even noted that it was unlawful to destroy or modify City property.

On April 2nd, 2018, Pryde drove an 8,000lb skid steer into the alley and ripped up the City’s brand new asphalt. In the process, Pryde damaged a landscaping timber belonging to a neighbor. The neighbor tried to speak to Pryde about the damage, but Pryde began swearing and yelling threats while shaking a metal rake at the neighbor.

The neighbor called the police and City staff were also summoned to view the asphalt damage. David Pryde was issued a citation for trespassing and the City fined Erik Sacks and Pryde for destroying City property. The Public Works Department also ordered Pryde to repair the alley damage, though he never returned to do so.

View/download Notice of Violations from City of Urbana to Erik Sacks and his hired contractor (Central Paving and Sealcoating)