Adam and Jessie Modrow are trying to make a go of their small restaurant at 1949 State St. They didn't get much help from the city last June when a street contractor dug into the ground and cracked the foundation of their building.
Mann Brothers was doing excavating work for the city near the Modrows' shop, a former Dairy Queen, when the incident occurred on June 25, 2007. The shops walls were also damaged by the contractor, according to city officials.
The Modrows filed an $82,500 claim with the city asking for the building to be razed and rebuilt to fix the damage. Mann Brothers has denied responsibility for the accident.
The Finance Committee reluctantly denied the claim Tuesday. Committee members noted the claim was a procedural step for the Modrows to sue Mann Brothers and the city.
"They were told to put the documentation to the city, so the city could lean on Mann Brothers," said Alderman Jim Spangenberg, who was representing the district after Pete Karas resigned from the council last year.
Spangenberg said he met with the Modrows. They said they had received no response from Mann Brothers, and had hired a lawyer, he told the Finance Committee.
"I feel bad for them," he said. "They're really trying hard (to make their business work). The foundation is in bad shape, the walls are in bad shape. They know they did it, but they refuse to do anything about it."