Friday, October 21, 2005

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

Part two of my cover letter to the Illinois Attorney General's and the Department of Consumer Services for the City of Chicago:

Despite his questionable and deeply troubling development of our association, Mr. XXXX has demonstrated that he is not concerned with any of the current consequences that any municipality or corporation can bring against him.

In the section titled “Open Cases” the cases that the city has filed against him is staggering. If I were to venture a guess, I would suspect that a majority of them may concern either the management or development of a property. While I can’t begin to second guess Mr. XXXX’s state of mind, it may be safe to surmise that the reason these

cases are of little concern to him may be the financial penalties assigned aren’t enough motivation for him to do the right thing.

In short, up to this point, Mr. XXXX has little reason to fear the City of Chicago.

In the section titled “Judgment” a debt that Mr. XXXX incurred for non-management of a building 79th & Colfax became our responsibility when the our association was cited as a third party defendant. In addition to being our developer, Mr. XXXX was also our condominium president from 2002-2004 and the registered agent for the association from our inception until 2004. The paperwork I assembled will show that despite the fact that these legal proceedings had started prior to our association being formed, Mr. XXXX was in receipt of registered mail about this situation. He never once notified anyone on the board about this issue. Even though he was our registered agent, to the best of my knowledge he was never a paid employee of the XXXX Condominium Association.

The debt that started out at $2,550 in 2001 has now grown to almost $4,500. It would seem that Mr. XXXX did not act in the best interests and in a fiduciary manner concerning the welfare of the association.

Also note that the first page of the “Judgment” section is from the most recent bankruptcy filing of Mr. XXXX. I secured this information by going to the bankruptcy clerk’s office at the Dirksen Federal Building. The social security number cited on that document is XXX-XX-XXXX. If you look at what appears to be the social security number on the documents concerning the judgment for the Colfax building, you’ll see that the number is XXX-XX-XXXX.

It also appears that in the multiple bankruptcy filings that Mr. XXXX has filed over the past 10-15 years, several companies---including utilities---have come out with little more than a debt incurred by Mr. XXXX and no repayment.

From my personal dealing with XXXX and by the paperwork that I have gathered, it’s not difficult to see that he is well versed cutting corners and evading financial and legal responsibility. What continues to puzzles me is the following:

How can a man who has questionable business practices at best be allowed to call himself a developer?

What qualifications, if any, does the city of Chicago require for any person to call themselves a developer? If I can’t cut someone open with a scalpel and call myself a doctor, why can any individual just call themselves a developer?

Why are there no central resource to allow both the city and interested consumers to check on the accreditations or violations of developers

Why was Mr. XXXX allowed to apply for and receive construction permits despite the number of open violations on all three buildings?

Additionally, why didn’t the city follow up with its permit process by at least inspecting the building for which the permit was pulled?

Why didn’t the lack of occupancy permit set off a red flag?

How did permits get issued in 2001 when there were open violations in 2000?

Why aren’t engineering firms be held liable for the property reports that they issue? If CEO’s and CIO’s of large publicly traded companies have to sign off on the accuracy of their finances, why are engineering companies any less liable for the safety and habitability of someone’s home?

Why are there seemingly little protections for the consumer when purchasing a condominium in the city of Chicago and the State of Illinois? Why is the onus put on the consumer---in many cases a first time home buyer---to prove they didn’t know about latent defects? If there specific lemon laws for cars, why can’t there be one for homes?

Will it take a death of a person before someone on the governmental level responds to these loopholes? Mr. XXXX is fully aware that we cannot even begin to pay a law firm to pursue these matters civilly. Quite frankly we’re too busy making sure our porches don’t fall down and that we don’t burn to death in our sleep to even mount such a campaign. We only have so many financial resources and felt it best to address matters directly related to our health and safety prior to looking into litigation. Nonetheless, I believe in the power of government to protect us from individuals and entities that would egregiously take advantage of week or non-existent legislation.
How can where I eat (restaurant), nightclub entertainment, and smoking be so heavily regulated but who builds the place where I rest my head at night is not?

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