Safe Mode: On
Judge upholds charge against Lakemoor woman's potty planters

By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald StaffContact writer

Lakemoor resident Tina Asmus last year was cited by the village for having planters made from old toilets in her yard.

PAUL VALADE | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Published: 2/3/2010 11:18 AM | Updated: 2/3/201 11:19 AM

A McHenry County judge Wednesday refused to throw out a nuisance charge against a Lakemoor woman using two old toilets and a bathroom sink as front yard planters, rejecting arguments the village was applying its rules too broadly.

The decision by Judge Michael Caldwell moves Tina Asmus closer to a trial showdown with the village over whether the old bathroom fixtures are constitutionally protected artistic expression, as she maintains, or old junk that belongs in a landfill, not a front yard.

In his decision, Caldwell said whether the village is applying its nuisance ordinance unconstitutionally is a fact issue to be decided at trial, but the ordinance itself is not overbroad as Asmus's attorney argued.

The ruling comes about seven months after village officials cited Asmus, of the 100 block of South Highland Drive, for maintaining a public nuisance when she refused to remove the fixtures. The village ordinance declares as a nuisance any item "no longer safely usable for the purpose for which it was manufactured" and stored without shelter.

Asmus attorney Tom Spencer argued before Caldwell that the fixtures are not stored, and it is not for the village to decide whether an item is being used for its manufactured purpose. By that standard, he noted, residents who place wagon wheels and other items of "Americana" outside their homes should also be ticketed.

Spencer added that messages written on the planters - including one stating "God bless my neighbors" adds to their constitutionally protected nature.

"The fact of the matter is that they don't like that her artistic expression happens to involve plumbing," Spencer said. "They can't just willy-nilly decide that they don't like it. I don't have to like it, you don't have to like it, but it is her constitutional right."

Lakemoor attorney Greg Waggoner said the village's decision to cite Asmus has nothing to do with her art or her message, but rather with her medium.

"We're not objecting to a sign," Waggoner said. "But at the same time, a person can't decide to put a sign on anything they choose and call it freedom of expression. This is a reasonable exercise of government authority."

Asmus, who faces a $25 fine if found guilty of maintaining a public nuisance, continues to display the fixtures.


Click to view image: '89adf606a222-244045.jpg'

Added: Feb-4-2010 Occurred On: Feb-4-2010
By: gregory_peckory
In:
News
Tags: toilet art, nuisance, neighbors, complaints
Location: Lakemoor, Illinois, United States (load item map)
Views: 7645 | Comments: 9 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 1 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 1
You need to be registered in order to add comments! Register HERE
Sort by: Newest first | Oldest first | Highest score first
Liveleak opposes racial slurs - if you do spot comments that fall into this category, please report them for us to review.
  • Everyone's a critic. Opinions belong in the toilet.

    Posted Feb-4-2010 By 

    (3) | Report

  • Wow. I guess it's time to take the dildo antenna ornament off my car.

    Posted Feb-4-2010 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Oppression by the majority

    Posted Feb-4-2010 By 

    (1) | Report

    • Meh, I'm sure he neighbors didn't appreciate her artistic taste and didn't want to have to look at a tacky toilet sitting on their neighbor's lawn. There always has to be that one person in the neighborhood doing something annoying just because they can.

      Posted Feb-4-2010 By 

      (1) | Report

    • Yea and it might make selling a house there a little more difficult. Try saying don't mind the loon with her toilets and sinks on her front yard.

      Posted Feb-4-2010 By 

      (1) | Report

  • what a shitty planter, gr8 idea though...

    Posted Feb-4-2010 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Geeeze leave the lady alone already, if it blows her hair back to place plants in an old toilet then leave her be, if I had neighbours like that I would invite the hells angles around to camp on my lawn for a few week ends.................. that'l f*#%k-em.

    Posted Feb-4-2010 By 

    (1) | Report

  • Wow...Lakemoor won't get to hire a policeman/fireman or get a new squad car this year after the civil countersuit...what were they thinking?

    Posted Feb-4-2010 By 

    (1) | Report

  • I knew of a house years ago that the lady had ONE toilet in her yard with flowers in it. She had a tiny little sign that said "flower pot" next to it. Then she has a small childs brass style bed with flowers in place of the mattress, and again another sign saying, yes you guessed it, "flower bed". She was about 100 years old, a very large lot and no one messed with her. Her place looked like a nursery with all the flowers. Better than old furniture, broken down cars, trash. e More..

    Posted Feb-4-2010 By 

    (1) | Report