Ex-trustee files suit against Ludlow, mayor, others

This is the motorhome where former Ludlow Village Trustee Ross Radke resides. Radke filed a suit in U.S. District Court, Urbana, against the village of Ludlow for turning off his water due to nonpayment and for adoption of a sexual harassment policy, his former wife, the city of Ottawa and other individuals. Radke was arrested May 4 after he allegedly displayed a handgun to a customer at a Rantoul laundromat.

LUDLOW — A former Ludlow Village Board trustee who was arrested after he allegedly showed a handgun and told a customer at a Rantoul laundromat to stay in her car has sued the village of Ludlow, the city of Ottawa,  his former wife  and several other individuals on various complaints in U.S. District Court.

Ross B. Radke, 62, of 121 S. Church St., Ludlow, has been charged with possession of a firearm without a valid firearm owner’s identification card and two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Rantoul police arrested Radke on May 4 after he allegedly walked up to the car of a customer at Cleaner’s Express on Klein Avenue in Rantoul, told her not to get out and exposed what she believed was a handgun inside his coat pocket. Police said they found a loaded handgun in Radke’s coat pocket, two handgun magazines on him and three additional magazines in his belongings at the laundromat. Each magazine contained ammunition.

Judge John Kennedy set bond for Radke at $50,000 and told him to be back in court Thursday after Radke asked for a probable cause hearing.

Radke’s beef with the village of Ludlow is due to the water being turned off to the motorhome where he lives due to nonpayment of his water bill. He also objected to the village board adopting a sexual harassment ordinance that the state of Illinois required all municipal boards to adopt.

“He’s complaining that we passed that in order to use it against him concerning a (court) case against him, which is false,” Ludlow Mayor Steve Thomas said, adding he doesn’t know details of the harassment complaint. “The police talked to him, and to my knowledge there have not been any more incidents.”

Thomas said another person whom he doesn’t know paid Radke’s water bill, and the service was turned back on.

The water for Radke’s motorhome comes from a hose that is attached to a spigot in a vacant lot on which the motor home sits.

Radke filed the federal civil suit April 22 — about two weeks prior to his arrest on the weapons charges. He said he will represent himself in the case.

On May 8, Judge Colin Stirling Bruce dismissed Radke’s ex-wife, Deborah Roemer, from the suit, saying Radke failed to provide any factual content to show he is entitled to relief against Roemer.

Radke had alleged Roemer had participated in at least two counts of racketeering activity but did not elaborate or provide any detail as to that activity.

She was one of seven defendants whom Radke had named in the blanket lawsuit. The others are the village of Ludlow, Thomas, attorney Aaron Galloway of Pontiac, Livingston County Judge Robert M. Travers, the city of Ottawa and Ottawa Mayor Robert Eschbach.

Radke alleges the village of Ludlow had violated his “enterprise and civil rights” by abusing its powers by enacting unconstitutional local ordinances and policies with intent to damage. He seeks injunctive relief to have his village water restored and the village to stop further activities against him.

Against Thomas, Radke alleges he directed the Ludlow Police Department and others to deprive him of his civil rights.

Against Galloway, Radke claims he participated in mail fraud, wire fraud and other racketeering activities violating his civil rights.

Radke’s claim against Travers is that he participated in racketeering activity violating his civil rights through extortion and abuse of state statutes.

Radke claims the city of Ottawa engaged in multiple counts of racketeering activity, violating his civil rights through direct control of others.

Against Eschbach, Radke alleges he “may have” participated in multiple counts of racketeering activity, violating his civil rights through direct control of the Ottawa Police Department and others.

Until May 6, Radke was a trustee on the Ludlow Village Board. However, he ran an unsuccessful candidacy for mayor to unseat Thomas in the April election and did not seek re-election as trustee. The new board was seated May 6. He had been appointed by Thomas to the board March 5, 2018.

At the time of the filing of his suit, Radke said he was serving as police committee chairman on the village board. He said the village of Ludlow, Thomas and Roemer had “legislated a blind ordinance with regard to sexual harassment in an effort to open and form new cases against me” and had used the local police force by “openly investigating me without due cause.”

Radke said he was served an order of protection with six years of control on April 15, 2015, following the dissolution of his marriage, and that as of March 16, 2019, the court had levied a new two-year order of protection. He claimed the defendants had violated his Second Amendment rights, his disabled-person rights, his parenting-time rights and that his property had been seized and not returned.

Radke listed charges from 2009  through 2011 against him ranging from a citation for traffic lights to theft to three charges of unlawful use of a weapon. He said he was found guilty of the theft charge but found not guilty of the weapons violations.

He claims that the defendants had conspired to maliciously have the charges filed against him.

Radke said he was a prominent citizen of Ottawa from 1986 through 2014, operating Hydrus Inc., a service-based manufacturer of water treatment to industry. He said he was also a licensed private detective and was authorized by the state of Illinois to carry firearms while doing his duties. Radke also said he operated a martial arts school and is an Eagle Scout.

He said his life has “been living hell” since June 19, 2009, when he was arrested for a traffic offense by the Ottawa Police Department. He claimed that since that time his civil rights had constantly been under attack.

Radke said he has many enemies due to his “investigative skills” and had been investigating organized crime in LaSalle County since 2000, which he claimed was directly linked to the city of Ottawa.

He is seeking compensatory damages of $2 million and is seeking punitive damages.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com