KANKAKEE — The City of Kankakee and the owners of Jaffe Drugs agreed Thursday in Kankakee County court on a permanent injunction in regards to the building at 217 E. Court St. in downtown Kankakee.

It came two days after personnel from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency donned hazmat suits to investigate the three-story building’s interior.

The crews were on scene Tuesday conducting an investigation to “mitigate potential hazards” left behind after the drug store closed for business, according to the City of Kankakee. Kankakee police and fire, as well as members of MABAS 7 Hazmat Unit, were at the scene to support the Illinois EPA’s investigation, city officials said.

Fred and Barry Jaffe own the building, which has been in their family for more than 60 years. The drug store it housed has been closed for two or three years.

“It worked out,” Barry Jaffe said of the agreement with the city.

Kankakee County Circuit Judge Tom Cunnington issued a preliminary injunction in December 2019.

Fred Jaffe said it was a misunderstanding because they did not receive a letter the city sent in November 2019 listing the violations that needed to be rectified.

“We never got the paperwork,” he said.

In that letter — dated Nov. 21, 2019 — Kankakee Fire Captain Mike Casagrande listed 10 code violations.

According to court documents, those included fire violations, a broken neon sign, a toilet valve stuck in the open position and water running, bird feces on the second and third floors, and excessive combustibles.

“The last thing we want is another fire,” Fred Jaffe said in reference to a 1964 fire that significant damage. He added that the city’s fire department did a great job saving the store when the fire broke out.

One notable violation in the city’s letter was “excessive amounts of expired drugs are stored in the basement, many of these are from the early 1900s in glass bottles.”

“An effort should be made to find proper disposal,” Casagrande’s letter said.

Fred Jaffe said they wanted to donate those bottles to a pharmacy museum.

The agreement

The Jaffe brothers signed the order for permanent injunction that was filed Thursday with the circuit clerk by attorney Mary Norvell, the city’s legal counsel. It requires the brothers to make interior and exterior repairs and remedy violations referred to in the city’s complaint.

The brothers also agreed to:

• Not occupy or allow occupancy of the building for persons other than officials from the city, Kankakee County or the State of Illinois

• Allow Kankakee Fire Department and other governmental agencies to perform a site visit and inspect the building’s exterior and interior

• Allow members of governmental agencies to enter the building and remove all pharmaceuticals and stock

• Not damage or destroy any pharmaceuticals, stock or the interior or exterior of the building.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at jbonty@daily-journal.com and 815-937-3366.


Jeff Bonty has worked for The Daily Journal since September 1986, starting in the sports department before moving to news reporting in 2002. He's a native of Indiana and graduate of Purdue University. His email is jbonty@daily-journal.com.