Friday, October 21, 2005

I've Gone And Done It---Part I

The gauntlet has been thrown down.

Today at lunch I officially lodged a complaint of fraud against my developer with the Illinois Attorney General’s office and the Department of Consumer Affairs for the City of Chicago. While I'm optimistic that this may help our situation, it may not. We'll just have to take it one step at a time.

Part I of the five page cover letter accompanying a three ring binder chock full of corroborating information reads like this:

Department of Consumer Services, City of Chicago
50 West Washington Street
Room #208
Chicago, IL 60602


Pursuant to our phone conversation, I am filing a fraud complaint against my condominium developer, XXXX. As the accompanying documentation will show, Mr. XXXX not only violated key procedural and safety regulations but he has little regard for any consequences that the city may bring.

Please also note that due to the volume of information, I have separated it into sections with the following section headers:

Porches Decs & Bylaws
Building Report Open Violations
Permits Judgment

Open Cases Electric Report

The first section is not titled but contains the original MLS listings and my purchase agreement.

As the MLS listings will show, the three buildings that comprise the Blackstone Condominium Association were marketed as a “new conversions.” If memory serves me correct, when I first saw many of the units in my building, they were torn down to the studs. The Property Report clearly makes mention of remodeling in Sect 2.02, the poor condition of the back porches in Sect 2.03 and that the existing electrical would be maintained (Sect 2.07). Unfortunately the property report and the final set of Declarations and Bylaws were never given to me prior to closing. I only obtained a set from a neighbor who closed six months after me.

The Declarations and Bylaws mention on one of its last pages that all open violations will be corrected. As you can see by the supporting documentation obtained in 2001, 2002 and 2005 that is not the case from the city’s point of view.

Additionally, Mr. XXXX only applied for what seems to be incomplete permits under the 6509 XXXX address. No mention is ever made of the 1501, 1503, 1507 & 1509 XXXX Street addresses. In my investigation, no certificate of occupancy was ever applied for.

As an association we are going into our third year after the initial turnover only to discover the true quality of the work that was done on our homes. The porch is close to crumbling and our non-grounded electrical system is an imminent threat to every resident’s health and safety.

With this incarnation of this current board, the first full board without Mr. XXXX as a member, we have been able to identify and are attempting to rectify these hazardous situations before someone gets hurt.

We have been able to secure a reputable porch contractor as well as financing to address the issue. We are simply awaiting construction permits from the city. While we would like to have this project done before the weather changes, the fact of the matter is that the current permit process can take up to four months. As an association we have made the condition of the porches known to our unit owners and residents---all we can do is cross our fingers and hope that the permits come in prior to the cold weather.

The electrical system is a much different and more dangerous story. Per the enclosed report from master electrician XXXX, our electrical is not grounded. There is substantial, life threatening issues with the construction of the complete system throughout the association.

In the rehabilitation of a property that is over the 40% construction threshold, the City of Chicago Electrical code clearly states that all of the BX conduits must be removed and the electrical system must meet or exceed its current rules and guidelines. As Mr. XXXX’s report painstakingly details, these rules and guidelines weren’t even a factor in the rehabilitation of our buildings.

We now also know that our central air conditioning and heating units are running off of a separate illegal feed from Commonwealth Edison.
(It keeps on getting better, huh?)

Ms. XXXX these are merely the serious infrastructure issues that we currently know about. I fear what discoveries the future may bring.

I’m sure there are a couple of run-on’s, comma splices and tense changes but I’m sure you all get the drift. That was merely round one of my deliveries. Next week the elected officials get a copy then I need to start to cultivate a close personal relationship with our local news hounds.

Ding, ding---game on.

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