Who’s Zoomin’ Who in the 111 East Chestnut Condo Zoo?

  • Posted: June 3, 2014

gossip…Or more plainly, “What’s the gossip?!”

Fair warning: Unlike most other stories here, this one won’t come with a whole lotta depth. This is just a quick collection of television-telephone-tell-the-doorstaff snippets of who’s zoomin’ who in the zoo. A must read, none the less.

– Elliot Ness? J. Edgar Hoover? Nope. It was Frank Wilson.

In “The Untouchables,” the big screen romanticizes a time during the Prohibition Era when Elliot Ness tried to bring down Chicago’s notorious, Al Capone. But of course, what ultimately caught up with Al wasn’t machine-gun murders, racketeering, prostitution and the like. It was the Special Intelligence Unit of the Treasury Department led by little-known agent Frank Wilson. Capone’s downfall? Tax evasion.

With that admittedly grandiose analogy in mind, what’s going to catch up with 111’s rascals just might be the little issue of taxes.

As we pick up where we left off last week with the build-outs… in a follow up conversation with Irma Rodrequez from the Building Department, she said that although the violation notice indicates only three units for which the Association will need to secure permits, it’s actually ALL units that have the build-out into the corridor. These include units: 49A, 49K, 50A, 50K, 51A, 51K, 52A, 54A, 54K and 56A.

But for a moment, forget about the required building permits. They’re sideshow. According to Lumni Likovski from the Cook County Assessor’s Office, the build-outs “skew the Condo Declaration’s ownership percentages.” Bottom line: the way common elements are taxed in a condo is that the building is considered a whole, i.e. 100 percent. Likovski said, “As more common element goes to the exclusive use of one owner, their taxes should go up and everyone else’s down.” It’s a zero sum game.

Anyway, Frank Wilson’s on the case. The Assessor’s office is going to investigate the matter.

STORY UPDATE 7/1: According to Khang Trinh, Director of Legal Affairs for the Cook County Assessor’s Office, “The numbers provided by the Association is what the Assessor’s Office goes on.” In situations where the ownership percentages are inaccurate or where there have been various common element encroachments, the avenue for relief for homeowners is the board, a homeowner-mandated resolution, or a derivative lawsuit.

– Boucher’s left the building.

Former Board director, Michael Boucher, is gone. By way of background: Last July, in a heated discussion about the various omissions of management and the Board, Steven Levy, president of Sudler Property Management, suggested to Boucher (as well as a few other Board-deemed “troublemakers”) that he (they) move. Of course, considering the source, Michael strongly rejected that. “Who the Hell is he to tell me?” And that’s when it got interesting. Not having taken the hint, the Board soon thereafter used there power to turn up the heat on Mr. Boucher. They smacked ’em, i.e. they fined him. What for? They trumped up a few incidents characterizing his speech as “obnoxious,” conducted a kangaroo court, and later sent him a bill for $500. Of course, the bald intent of the Board’s actions resulted in a lawsuit. And six months later, considering a hostile environment without end, Boucher had had enough. He sold his unit and moved out.

So did that resolve the problem as the Board had hoped? Nope. It gets worse. When he lived here his suit was Declaratory in nature. No more. Now he’s reloading for bear. Word is he’s refiling his action in the Cook County Law Division and going to seek significant monetary damages.

Nice work Milazzo et al. Thank you for another completely avoidable exposure. Seems to be a pattern there.

– Sammy say it ain’t so!

Our beloved Sammy from maintenance is calling it quits. After nearly 18 years serving the residents of 111, Mr. Vizitiu, known by a few as “The World’s Busiest Man,” has decided to hang up his mop and take it easy. Always with a smile, Sammy is a 111 institution.  He will be greatly missed.

STORY UPDATE 7/4: Sammy will be with us until October 1.  According to Sammy, after a review by the Union, it was determined that he was just shy of the requirement to retire.

– Jackie apparently just loves to dance.

After being on the Association’s dance card some 14 times since 2003 (2010-CH-00492, 2008-CH-18000, 2008-M1-716473, 2008-M1-709122, 2007-CH-08240, 2005-M1-707104, 2005-M1-707101, 2004-CH-10936, 2004-CH-07288, 2004-CH-09999, 2003-CH-02107, 2003-M1-720753, 2003-M1-720752, 2003-M1-720750), now Jackie wants to trip the light fantastic with a few Association members. Inspired by this site, Ms. Smith has her sights on Vince Scott, Brian Connolly, and of all people, Vikki Valentine.

In an email directed at Scott and Connolly, Smith said: “My best position is to sue you both get all your emails back and forth, even deleted ones, and treat this as a defamation conspiracy. I should point out that I am one of the best pro se litigants in Cook County… I am that person, so run up the bills, then you get me in all my anger and glory. One way or another we are about to do this dance. You paid the piper, I pick the tune.”

In typical Connolly fashion, Brian responded: “I cannot imagine what tune she might pick. Oddly, ‘Safety Dance‘ by Men Without Hats comes to mind.” Scott could not be reached for comment.

– “Tribune on line one.”

Yep, the rumors are correct. The Chicago Tribune has expressed interest in doing a story about the blog. To say that there’s ample grist for the mill here (read shenanigans at 111), is understatement.

So until the next time, as they say, we’ll see you in the funny papers.

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