A Minister Threatened with $82,500 PER DAY Fines

By the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Are they even allowed to THREATEN an American Citizen like that? For my 'crime' of carrying half a drywall bucket of rocks, around 25 pounds?

The threatening letter that arrived in my mail from the US Army Corps of Engineers.

In case you did not notice the important part:

Highlight  of the threatening letter, the $82,500
Imagine that your small Asphalt Paving business is guilty of having made a three-year Illegal Landfill of 15,000 tons of relatively toxic chemicals. It is all on public property, on a Flood Plain on Forest Preserve District property, and adjacent to a major local waterway, where nearly all the fish have already now been killed in the river by the continuous leeching of an oil film from petroleum by-products from about 8,000,000 pounds of scrap asphalt pavement chunks falling down into the river. What would be the easiest way to distract all authorities from ever getting into serious trouble for that? Why not cause the US Army Corps of Engineers to threaten a nearby Retired Christian Minister with DAILY Fines of $82,500 and possible imprisonment?

It doesn't seem possible in America, does it? Look at what arrived (above) in MY MAIL!

It seems to really pay to be the biggest frog in a small pond! The Diekelman Asphalt Paving Company in Thornton, Illinois USED TO BE a really highly reputable company, when it was still run by Paul Diekelman, who had started the company up long ago. When he died, his son Barry Diekelman took over the company, and he clearly loves that he is the richest and most powerful person around. Somehow, he built a new house near the end of South Hunter Street without apparently needing to ever get any Building Permit or Cook County acknowledgement of a new house, around 1980. He didn't like it that 'common people' were able to approach his driveway from the street, so he decided to create his own 'secure driveway', without bothering to ever get any of the usual permissions. When you are that rich and powerful, and you have the most expensive Lawyers around, apparently you can do absolutely anything you wish!

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As it happened, I grew up in this neighborhood, and the 40-foot-wide Thorn Creek happened to be right behind our house and kitchen. As a little kid, I often (carefully) climbed down the seventeen foot tall steep hill (behind our outhouse!) to play down on the Flood Plain of Thorn Creek, often with various other children of the neighborhood. One of my early focuses was (at about age five or six) to try to climb up on and sit on top of a concrete Stela essentially right behind our house but down on the Flood Plain. It was only about six feet tall, but I vividly remember that it took me dozens of days of trying before I finally got to sit on top of it. My father told me what the three letters FPD meant that were in the concrete side, it was 'Forest Preserve District'. There was another identical Stela a few hundred feet north on the Flood Plain, along with the two identical Stelas we could see on the other (east) Flood Plain of the Creek. Those two on the other side are still visible. Those Stelas were to identify that the Cook County Forest Preserve District owned both Flood Plains.

We kids LOVED that Thornton had been the location of some Native Indian Villages during the 1700s and early 1800s, as we regularly found countless really impressive Indian arrowheads and many other artifacts. I spent much of the decade of the 1950s playing down on the Flood Plain and searching after every rain for new Native Indian artifacts. We mostly found stone arrowheads, but an occasional find was a bone arrowhead, which we thought was rare. I often took my best finds into Wolcott School, where one Teacher specifically, Aaron Gordon, taught me a lot about early American cultures. I do not recall that Barry Diekelman had ever come down onto the Flood Plain to play with us there, but his older brother, Dennis Diekelman, and his cousin, Ralph Diekelman, sometimes did come down to play and explore with us other kids. Tom Ehlers, Ray DeYoung, Bobby Fisher, Art LaTour, Henry Pisarzewski, Chris Pisarzewski and a dozen other kids often came down to play down there. It was like our 'secret campground' that no grownups knew about!

My older half-brother also created a very scary sled run whenever it had snowed. I rarely tried it as I once hit a tree! When a snow sled goes down a steep hill 17 feet high, it really gets going, and there were several very tight turns necessary to avoid falling into the Creek!

Well, all that is permanently gone, now. Any remaining Indian Arrowheads and other Artifacts are now under about 17 feet deep of an Illegal Landfill.

Barry Diekelman apparently got a brilliant idea in the early 1980s. His Asphalt Pavement replacement company constantly had to PAY to have the broken scrap pavement materials hauled away to a Public Landfill. He decided that he could kill two birds with one stone, by dumping approximately 1,500 truckloads of his broken pavement debris down onto the Thorn Creek Flood Plain, during the middle 1980s. He not only avoided having to PAY to have all that landfill material hauled away and legally discarded, but all those truckloads of material piled up on the Flood Plain raised the land surface up about 17 vertical feet. He later dumped a few truckloads of black dirt on top of his Illegal Landfill to hide it, and to create the surface which was to become his 'hidden driveway'.

My mother HATED the sounds of all the hundreds of the big Diekelman dump trucks and bulldozers constantly driving 'essentially through her back yard' (around 15 feet away from her kitchen). And that went on for many months, as there was an enormous amount of that Illegal Landfill Debris that the Diekelman trucks were dumping on the Flood Plain.

Of course, the two FPD Stelas and any remaining Indian Artifacts are now forever buried deep under his Illegal Landfill. It is my understanding that if people do ANYTHING to obliterate any Indian Artifacts, they allegedly get in a lot of trouble, but apparently if you are powerful enough and rich enough, nobody will mess with you. Over the years, I had contacted a number of different American Indian Historical Organizations, but none ever even took the time and effort to drive out to LOOK at his Illegal Landfill, much less actually did anything to Diekelman regarding his enormous three-acre 15,000 ton Illegal Landfill. Also, there are quite a few Agencies of the Cook County and Illinois State Government that allegedly control Landfills and allegedly eliminate Illegal Landfills, but none have lifted a finger about the 15,000 ton Illegal Landfill 'in my back yard'. No matter how many letters or phone calls I made, absolutely NONE of them even sent anyone out to LOOK at the situation I described to them, to even confirm that the Illegal Landfill exists.

In a darkly amusing aspect of this story, I had gone down to the Thorn Creek and took photographs (in 2010) (some are reproduced 1/4-scale below) of the illegal landfill that no one seemed to be willing to even ever LOOK at. Around 2012, Barry Diekelman realized that he might not be able to HIDE his illegal landfill much longer, and he got ANOTHER of his 'brilliant ideas' where he decided to try to 'revise history' to blame ME for the entire 15,000 ton illegal landfill, where he contacted one of his friends at the Corps of Engineers to mail me the terrifying letter (copied above). Is ANY actual logic involved? I am merely a Retired Christian Minister, and I do NOT own dozens of dump trucks or bulldozers! All I had was a single empty drywall bucket for me to try to move a few small rocks around to give a few fish in the Creek a chance at survival from the perpetual oil-film above them. SO! UNTIL Barry Diekelman CONTACTED the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to get them to threaten me, he and his illegal landfill were probably perfectly safe from anyone ever learning about what he had done. But the C of E letter even clearly distinguished between MY city lot at 301 South Hunter and 'the property located BEHIND 301 South Hunter' (which Barry Diekelman claims to own, even though the Cook County Forest Preserve District thinks that they BOUGHT that property some time back!)

Had any authorities actually taken a few minutes to come out to look, they WOULD have seen the views that I had photographed of his Illegal Landfills in 2010, shown below. The black dirt that Barry Diekelman had piled on top of his Illegal Landfill to hide it has washed away from rains over the past 30 years, and now, the very ugly actual illegal landfill is now exposed. However, Barry Diekelman built tall chain-link fences around it all, so no one except me can generally even SEE his machinations. And I see his Landfill debris every day out my kitchen window.

landfill northern view, Thorn Creek
View along Thorn Creek to the north, showing many of the giant one-ton blocks of concrete debris, many of which had already fallen down into Thorn Creek by 2010 when I took the photos. In the full-sized photo, you may be able to see the re-bar sticking out of some of the pieces of broken concrete pavement, especially the street curbs. These displayed photos are 1/4 scale to fit in the text, and you can Right Click to View Image to see any of them full-sized. You might notice that the US Army Corps of Engineers Complaint against ME accused ME of having put those many 2,000 pound blocks of concrete into Thorn Creek. The Corps of Engineers clearly thinks that an old Retired Minister can carry around such huge one-ton blocks of concrete! Now, IF whoever claimed to have come from the Corps of Engineers had simply KNOCKED ON MY DOOR, I would have had a chance to tell them of this history, where the Diekelman Asphalt Paving Company USED THEIR Payloaders and Bulldozers to move around 15,000 tons of Illegal Landfill debris, over about a three-year period during the 1980s, which ACTUALLY was the source of what they decided to try to blame a Retired Minister for! I could then have even SHOWN THEM the 4.5 gallon drywall bucket I had used to move my few rocks to different places in Thorn Creek!

The MAXIMUM that I was personally ever responsible for was in carrying a half-full drywall bucket of 25 pounds of rocks, which were just moved from one location in the Creek to another, for a reason that seems very admirable to me (discussed below). Also, no one seemed to note that a dozen teen-aged boys were actually regularly down there, and THEY definitely loved to be throwing rocks as big as they could pick up to throw them into the Creek. I could always see their activities as they were all easily visible through my kitchen window not too many feet away!

When I received that Letter (shown above) from the Corps of Engineers in 2012, I really considered 'fighting it'! My thoughts were that any Judge and all Newspaper Reporters would love to hear THE TRUTH, which would then certainly include the whole story about Barry Diekelman's Illegal Landfill. However, I WAS concerned about ONE DETAIL.

Around 2003, I had noticed that the broken asphalt chunks in his landfill are continuously decomposing due to rains and snows, and the petroleum by-products then wash down and into Thorn Creek itself. This is essentially continuous, and a very long stretch of Thorn Creek is continually covered by a colorful oil film. That oil film blocks oxygen from ever getting down into the water, which has killed off nearly all of the many fish which used to live in Thorn Creek.

In middle 2012, I DID actually carry a 4.5-gallon empty drywall bucket down to the Creek, once or twice, to try to rearrange about 25 pounds of the rocks in the Creek, to try to get some of the water flow to avoid picking up the oil film, to (hopefully) provide some tiny area of the Creek's flow where fish might actually be able to survive.

Twenty-five pounds of rocks is about as much as an Elderly Retired Minister could lift or carry! I didn't even dare to fill the drywall bucket up, as I was worried about hurting myself! So, in a sense, I might have been 'guilty' in moving about 25 pounds of the Creek's rocks, for that attempt to create a rather tiny 'cleaner' flow of the Creek for potential fish. Now, considering that the Diekelman Company had dumped 30,000,000 pounds of Illegal Landfill onto Forest Preserve Property, and effectively, eventually INTO the Thorn Creek, in a really strict sense, I was not purely without any blame with my movement of 25 or 50 pounds of rocks, which had already been IN the Creek to start with!

In any case, I WANTED Authorities to actually EXAMINE the status of Thorn Creek, so that SOMEBODY would eventually SEE the Illegal Landfill!

But I was aware that Barry Diekelman had already personally physically threatened me a number of times. One day he drove up as I was working on my car, and he told me he was thinking about 'punching my lights out'. Another time, he had informed me that he was considering using his Payloaders to dump 12 foot tall piles of logs up against the front of my garage 'where I would never even SEE my garage again!'. Barry Diekelman has made many other threats against me, but since the entire Village considers him like a rich and powerful king, I never dared complain about such threats.

Barry Diekelman clearly knew that he did NOT want ANYONE seeing his 15,000 ton Illegal Landfill, and in 2012, he realized that 'I' was the ONLY person who might SEE his efforts. So, he Filed a Lawsuit against me in 2012 regarding 'Trespassing', which arose because I had occasionally mowed the lawn and weeds on top of the Illegal Landfill property! I wonder how many people in America go to the expense and trouble to get a Judge to Issue a Restraining Order on someone to never Trespass on a vacant area of land, and just due to mowing, to try to cut down the ten-foot-tall weeds and to try to make the view out my kitchen window a little prettier!

landfill southern view, Thorn Creek
This view, also from 2010, was SOUTH along Thorn Creek, where hundreds of broken slabs of concrete sidewalk were dumped in his Landfill. By 2010, many more of these slabs and concrete blocks were already IN Thorn Creek, and the water of the Creek is seen to the left in this photo.

landfill western view
This view, also from 2010, (was when I was still legally permitted to stand in the two foot deep Creek) (like any other Citizen is allowed to do!), views to the WEST, where MY HOUSE might be visible directly BEHIND this piling of concrete and asphalt broken pieces. The areas I used to regularly play on in the 1950s, on the Flood Plain, were some feet below the debris that this photo shows.

I am a law-abiding Citizen, and so I have strictly complied with the Judge's Order that I not 'Trespass', so I have no more recent photos of his Illegal Landfill than these photos from 2010. I have to believe that in the following six years, many more of his giant concrete blocks and asphalt chunks have fallen down the hill by now and are now already into the water flow of Thorn Creek.


I often think back to 2012 after I received that very terrifying Letter shown above. I wish I had been less intimidated such that I would have encouraged the Corps of Engineers to "continue to try to destroy me!" A friend at the time (jokingly) mentioned that he wondered if they might be able to get me sent to Guantanamo Prison Camp in Cuba! I didn't really think that was possible, but Barry Diekelman's numerous threats to me really leaves little to the imagination! If my house suddenly "accidentally blows up" from a bunch of sticks of dynamite, it might have been that he finally thought up a way to PERMANENTLY get rid of me!

In any case, I find it truly sad that because a 'little autocrat' decides to try to invoke his power, Diekelman can freely get away with such things which includes a huge (three acre) Illegal Landfill, and absolutely NO ONE even questions him about any of it. Isn't America supposed to be different from that?

If ANYONE who reads this is aware of ANY Organization that tries to protect Native Indian Artifacts, please let them know that a really ugly situation exists in Thornton, Illinois, where many such Artifacts are forever lost under an Illegal Landfill.

Also, I have to believe that a talented Attorney could not possibly lose a Lawsuit regarding the spectacular threats the U.S. Army made against an American Citizen! And even a Retired Christian Minister! Even if the Lawsuit would be against the U.S. Army! The fact that the threats against me were for $82,500 per day, for at least 120 days, it is REALLY STRESSFUL to KNOW that the Army thinks that they might get $9,900,000 or more from me, as well as potentially putting me in prison.

Also, there are supposedly many 'Wetlands' and 'Conservation' Agencies in the Government, but I am now always told that Illinois is so broke that they could never afford to even send anyone out the ten miles to LOOK at all of Diekelman's efforts of his massive three-acre Illegal Landfill which is now already clogging up the flow of Thorn Creek. Given that the US Army Corps of Engineers felt so protective of Thorn Creek to make astounding threats to a Retired Christian Minister regarding 25 pounds of rocks which had been moved around IN Thorn Creek, I keep imagining that maybe there might be SOME Employee of the C of E who is NOT a dear friend of Barry Diekelman, where someone in the C of E might some day decide to mail an even more ferocious letter (like the one above that they threatened me with) to the man, Barry Diekelman, who actually PUT 30,000,000 pounds of Illegal Landfill into Thorn Creek and onto the Thorn Creek Flood Plains, and who had first alerted the CoE of my existence! No such person seems to have the slightest interest in anything I try to tell them (or show them in my 2010 photos). But that seems unlikely, as it was Barry Diekelman who had contacted the C of E to alert them regarding MY 'evil activities'!

A 'detail' seems to have gotten overlooked! The FIRST PARAGRAPH in the Letter that the C of E threatened me with, refers specifically to 'the property located behind 301 South Hunter in Thornton'. THAT is NOT MY PROPERTY at all, and is property which is allegedly controlled by Barry Diekelman, as he even had a Judge Issue a Restraining Order against me regarding Trespassing (or mowing) on that property. So even the C of E seems to specifically be blaming Barry Diekelman, and NOT ME! Except, Barry Diekelman initially gave the C of E MY NAME, and so he somehow got the C of E to think that 'I' had amassed a 30,000,000 pound Illegal Landfill. Pretty slick move, eh?

But the threatening Letter, sentence by sentence, clearly refers to Barry Diekelman and not ME! Again, if you are rich enough and powerful enough, you can do amazingly tricky things to save your own tail!

Shouldn't someone from the C of E CAREFULLY EXAMINE that threatening Letter they sent to me, to first CORRECT THE ADDRESSEE to be Barry Diekelman, and then STRICTLY follow through on everything that Letter says? I sort of hope that they specifically notice the reference to IMPRISONMENT!

The C of E is certainly aware of Barry Diekelman's home address, as they claim that the ENTIRE (navigable) THORN CREEK is ON HIS PROPERTY! Again, logic? NO ONE is allowed to OWN any Navigable Waterway in the United States. Apparently with the single exception of Barry Diekelman.

Related web-pages:

Illegal Landfill, Dangerous that No One Cares About


Amazingly Bad Behavior of the Village of Thornton, Illinois
Amazing Bad Behavior of the Village of Thornton, Illinois, Part 2
Amazing Bad Behavior of the Village of Thornton, Illinois, Part 3
A Minister Threatened with $82,500 PER DAY Fines

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago