Dick Malmin lives just across the southern border of Lake Geneva in the Town of Linn. Dick has fought so many battles for the citizens of both Town of Linn and Lake Geneva that underneath his Brooks Brothers clothing is a scarred and battered torso crisscrossed with many many scars. One might say that when he fought against Hummel (and won) that he was fighting because the property was close to his home, located on the lakefront one house south of the Geneva Inn. When he took on the Geneva Inn when they wanted to build down to the water and install a bridal center (and won), it might be perceived that he fought because his own residence was so near. When he went after the City of Lake Geneva for trying to plan to close South Lake Shore Drive, however, something else began to become clear, since Mr. Malmin’s property would have become more valuable if it was located without a well-traveled thoroughfare connecting to his driveway.   He won that battle too, at least for the time being.

Dick Malmin

Dick Malmin, activist

But Mr. Malmin’s reputation comes into its own when other projects, much more distant, are considered. He spends his own money to produce brochures, photos, and even drone shots. He attends almost all the Lake Geneva and Town of Linn meetings. He fought the downtown Lake Geneva parking lot, and again won, and yet he lives in Town of Linn. He fought the theater being turned over to a man for subsidized ownership who had just left the city council as an alderperson, and he won, but again he lives in Town of Linn. He is fighting the battle for the salvaging of Hillmoor from downtown Chicago developers, and he’s winning, and still, he lives in the Town of Linn. He’s currently fighting against higher parking fees; the conversion of Wrigley Drive into a park; the expenses of the Riviera restoration running wild and yet again none of those things are in Town of Linn where Mr. Malmin resides.

Why does he spend the time and money to do these things, which are all very time consuming and expensive? He does them because he believes deep in his heart that these are the right courses of action to follow for everyone living in the communities around the lake. Mr. Malmin is a mighty force in the battle against global warming, but he knows he cannot make an international impact so he’s decided to work to save the lake, even if he has to do it all by himself. He’s gone against and keeps going against Lake Geneva’s leadership, in fighting the Starry Stone Wart (an invasive species of lake bottom-dwelling plants threatening to destroy the Geneva Lake).

Mr. Malmin took on city attorney Dan Draper last Wednesday night and ‘bearded that lion’ in his own den, forcing Dan to misstate what he’d done in the past or deny what he’d written about it in order to change what might be done in the present. Mr. Malmin was the lone person in the audience on Wednesday night who brought the right documentation, after reading the published agenda of items to be presented and acted upon, and then raised his voice to declare the city attorney in error. Mr. Draper did not recant and the combined city council and plan commission, led by the mayor, chose to go home instead of voting, as the agenda had indicated they would. Mr. Malmin stood up and the city leadership stood down. Richard Malmin is a man for the ages, a renaissance man, and every town in the United States should be so lucky to have him, or someone like him, sitting through the meetings most local community citizens cannot take the time or trouble to attend.

Thank you, Dick Malmin, for being every bit what is written about you here, and then considerably more than the paper lacked the space to write about.

~ James Strauss


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