My reason for doing this episode is to warn consumers (especially first-time home buyers) about purchasing properties that are advertised as full gut rehab and the loopholes within the legal system that prevent individuals like myself from receiving justice.
I have evidence to support everything I’m sharing with you (click here), so if you’re in touch with reporters or journalists, feel free to have them contact me. I guarantee scams such as this one will further widen the current homeownership rates within the Black and Latino communities.
Judge Neil H. Cohen has found a loophole in the legal system which allows him to dismiss a case without prejudice, whereby a case can just sit on the docket without being properly adjudicated. This is exactly what happened to me in my case #2021CH03658 (click here to access case files).
· The condo I was sold was advertised as a full gut rehab the Sellers supposedly completed themselves. However, I do not have the electrical heating system which should have been located in the ceiling per the Sellers’ listing agent. The only way for a home inspector to access the electric heating system would be to open up the ceiling. It was later discovered that there are no permits on file with the City of Chicago for this supposed rehab.
· The Sellers also failed to disclose the noise nuisance issue. The HOA known as Stratford House On-The-Lake incorporated bylaws clearly state that it is the responsibility of those that live on the third floor and above to have soundproof flooring of the highest quality (this is not the case).
· I was trying to resolve this issue outside of court. It proved to be impossible because my upstairs neighbor was a secretary on the HOA with 40+ units. I am the only African American and the youngest homeowner in the building.
I was sold a condo unit with material defects. I believe this was done because the Sellers were cutting corners during what was supposed to be a full gut rehab. This condo unit does not have an electrical heating system nor insulation to prevent noise nuisance issues. The only heating source I currently have is an in-wall air conditioner with a heat function. Regarding the noise nuisance, I can hear my upstairs neighbor walking, talking, sneezing, vacuuming, the list goes on, but you get the point, I can hear everything. Had I known this condo possessed the aforementioned defects, I would never have paid $300K for this condo.
I hired a home inspector, but due to how this scam is set up, it would NOT have mattered.
Back in January 2021, I decided to look for a condo in Rogers Park, Chicago, IL. I wanted a condo because my mom is retired and lives with me. I didn’t want to go through the hassle of yard maintenance and all the things typically associated with a house, so I went the condo route.
Even before COVID, I was working from home, so it was VERY important to me that my new home was quiet, had great heating, plumbing, and internet. I searched on Zillow and came across a listing that satisfied everything I was looking for (at least on paper). The building was on a quiet cul-de-sac street on the lakefront, and the condo unit was advertised as completely renovated.
Now keep in mind it was January. Chicago is freezing cold during this time. Yet, I felt compelled to see this condo due to the listing. I made an appointment with my realtor to view the condo. I thought the listing matched what I wanted. When I walked in it was quiet, well heated, the plumbing worked, and had all the amenities I was looking for.
The Sellers’ realtor told my mother and I that the condo had been in the Sellers’ family for several generations and that the Sellers’ personally renovated the condo. The Sellers’ realtor shared the story that the condo was heated using electric heat.
The Sellers’ realtor explained the heating system for the condo was located inside the ceiling. The Sellers’ realtor then proceeded to show me how the heating system worked using the switches on the wall and thermostat.
I was in love with the unit. I didn’t even try to negotiate the price. I made an offer and gave the Sellers exactly what she asked for ($300K), and my offer was accepted. We had a home inspection, and then I closed on my condo.
By the way, to this day, I have never met the Sellers. The Sellers were not at the closing, and neither was the Sellers’ lawyer. I found out later in the case that the Sellers’ lawyer worked at the Title company. Do what you will with that information…
I immediately noticed several things when I moved into my condo:
1.) The Sellers and the Sellers’ realtor lied about the electric heating system.
2.) There was/is no insulation in my unit. I can and still do hear every movement my annoying upstairs neighbor makes. I can literally hear her walking, talking, laughing, sneezing, coughing, and her TV all from my condo unit. By the way, my upstairs neighbor was the secretary on the condo board during this time as well.
3.) My mom and I are the only African American people in this building. It’s been made VERY apparent they do not want us to live here.
Needless to say, I was angry, shocked, and disappointed. I didn’t sign up for this mess! I hired a lawyer who supposedly specialized in noise nuisance issues. We sued the Stratford House on the Lake condo board, my upstairs neighbor, the Sellers, and the Sellers’ realtor.
When my lawyer at the time was conducting his research, he discovered there weren’t any permits on file with the City of Chicago stating that the unit had actually been renovated. By law, and they also teach you this in real estate school, if you claim that a property has been completely renovated, you MUST have a permit to substantiate this claim. The listing claiming my condo unit was completely renovated does NOT have a single permit on file with the City of Chicago. There’s nothing to substantiate that this unit was properly renovated.
To make a long story short, I hired an electrician who confirmed there was NO electric heat in my ceiling! There aren’t any electrical wires in the ceiling. The thermostat and wall switch the realtor told me controlled the electrical heating system are nothing more than decorations. The thermostats are NOT connected to anything.
Again, I did retain a home inspector. I am NOT trying to defend my home inspector because I do not personally know him; he was referred to me. To his defense, a home inspector would NOT be in a position to discover hidden defects such as hidden electrical wiring and insulation issues that are behind the walls.
At the time of the home inspection, this is knowledge ONLY the Seller/Realtor, a live-in resident and/or remodeler would know. Hidden electrical wiring issues that are located behind the walls and other hidden defects are to be disclosed in the Residential Real Property Disclosure Report, yet the Seller stated there were no material defects in my condo unit. If the Seller had obtained the required City of Chicago permit before they did their renovation, I would have been spared being in this situation.
I sued the Sellers because the Sellers lied on the Residential Real Property Disclosure Report. Since this condo has been in the Sellers’ family for generations and the Sellers personally did the renovation themselves, there is NO way they didn’t know they were missing an electrical heating system. There’s NO way the Sellers didn’t know there was a ceiling defect due to its lack of insulation.
I sued the Sellers’ realtor because there was NO way she wasn’t aware of the Sellers’ lies. The only way the condo unit could have been warm was that someone preheated the condo unit before showing the place to potential buyers.
In regard to the noise nuisance aspect of my case, I decided to sue the condo board and my upstairs neighbor. If you look at the condo bylaws, it clearly states that it is the responsibility of those that live on the third floor and above to have soundproof flooring of the highest quality.
My upstairs neighbor should have known better because she was the secretary on the condo board. She is fully aware that she does not have the highest quality soundproofing material installed. She likes to throw lots of loud drunken parties (see attached case documents). I have a letter from her telling me I should come to her if she gets too loud. I didn’t pay $300K so that I could have someone else control the amount of noise that enters my home. If that’s not insane, I don’t know what is…
I filed a complaint against my annoying upstairs neighbor with the condo board. Again, the same condo board she was a part of…This is when I realized I purchased a condo unit from a self-managed condo board from hell. Many of the individuals on the condo board are family or friends. Needless to say, trying to resolve my complaint amicably did not go well. I have an email from one of the board members stating that they never held a public hearing about my complaint, which is also against the law.
The board NEVER came to investigate my noise nuisance complaint and yet had the nerve to tell me that the noise I was hearing was “residential living.” Again, remember the noise complaint was against my upstairs neighbor, who was a secretary on the condo board. So essentially, she was investigating herself. Filing a complaint with the condo board was a colossal waste of time, but again, I was following protocol.
I hired Attorney Keil M. Larson to represent me in this lawsuit. Later on, within the lawsuit, I discovered for one reason or another, Attorney Keil M. Larson was sabotaging my case. By the way, unethical behavior appears to be a pattern for him (see below print from another unhappy Keil M. Larson client).
As you can imagine, this entire situation is turning into a real nightmare straight from hell. Anyway, I kicked my questionable attorney to the curb, and I am now also in the process of suing him for his incompetence and leveraging my evidence to benefit himself.
Since my lawsuit is a simple open-and-shut case, and I had all my evidence, my mom and I took over handling the case ourselves. I did my research and followed procedures to file the documents needed to handle this simple open-and-shut lawsuit. In fact, during one of the court hearings, Judge Neil H. Cohen stated my case wasn’t rocket science, he understood what I was saying, and there would be no need for oral arguments.
We drafted an amended complaint, which is filled with all sorts of evidence, emails, videos, and quotes from the electrician I hired, that stated there was NOT any electrical heating presence in my ceilings and evidence there is no insulation in the ceiling. The Defendants’ lawyers don’t have a defense. The Defendants’’ could not defend the fact that an electrical heating system does not exist. They cannot defend the fact that the ceiling has a defect by not having any insulation.
In fact, I offered everyone involved in the case (Judge Neil H. Cohen and Defendants’ attorneys) the opportunity to come to see for themselves that there’s no electrical heating system and there’s no insulation in my ceiling. I even offered to pay for a Sound Transmission Class (STC) reading so we could settle the noise nuisance aspect of the case, but needless to say, my upstairs neighbor did not agree.
Despite all of the evidence I was able to present in my case, along with case laws, Judge Neil H. Cohen decided to dismiss my case due to formatting. You read that right…formatting. Judge Neil H. Cohen sent his decision on the case on September 28, 2022, and scheduled another court hearing for November 3rd, 2022, which I did not attend.
I did not attend because I believe that Judge Neil H. Cohen wanted me to appear at that hearing so he could attempt to intimidate me into refiling my briefs (filed on 7/15/2022, and uploaded on 8/8/2022 for ruling, see attached). I will NOT waste my time refiling these documents!
My briefs have page after page of concise, detailed allegations together with concrete evidence that consists of quotes, emails, videos, laws, and are loaded with facts. The mere fact that Judge Neil H. Cohen did NOT dismiss my case (#2021CH03658) with prejudice is evidence of this fact.
I believe the reason Judge Neil H. Cohen did not dismiss my case with prejudice is that such a ruling would confirm the corruption within the courtroom. Judge Neil H. Cohen has full knowledge dismissing my case (#2021CH03658) with prejudice will raise questions as to why he excused all of my concrete, undeniable evidence.
Judge Neil H. Cohen, 9/28/2022, defective ruling of “dismissed without prejudice” is a complete illusion of him being fair-minded. I believe if I re-filed my briefs, this would be a clever tactic that will give Judge Neil H. Cohen an opportunity to STRIKE ALL of my concrete, undisputed evidence. Therefore, weakening my case (#2021CH03658) so the lawsuit can be re-directed into the hands of the defense attorneys.
Legally, I, the Plaintiff, won the lawsuit because the defendants and their attorneys have NO defense. Despite this fact, Judge Neil H. Cohen refuses to rule in my favor. Dismissing my case (#2021CH03658), on 9/28/2022, without prejudice is a shrewd way for Judge Neil H. Cohen not to rule in my favor while pretending that he is being “helpful” and “fair-minded” by giving me another chance to refile my briefs.
Again, by law, the defendants and their defense attorneys lost the lawsuit (case #2021CH03658). The defendants’ attorneys had/have NO defense against my evidence! Therefore, the defendants legally lost the lawsuit against me.
Judge Neil H. Cohen is NOT allowed to personally pick and choose who he wants to win said lawsuit. This is an injustice! Within Illinois legal system, all individuals are to be treated fairly, regardless of their race, education, and economic status.
Depending on the litigant, it is apparent that Judge Neil H. Cohen picks and chooses which rule of law he wishes to “strictly” adhere to.
For example, Illinois law requires separation and appearance papers involving all parties involved in a lawsuit. Judge Neil H. Cohen did NOT “strictly” follow Illinois’ law regarding parties filing separation and appearance papers. Case in point, Judge Neil H. Cohen allowed one defendant 3 or 4 times to go back and forth from being represented by an attorney to being a pro se. All of the aforementioned was done without filing separation and/or appearance papers.
The same applies to the Defendants’ attorneys. Prior to 9/28/2022 ruling, Judge Cohen allowed one of the Defendant’s attorneys to be removed from the case and replaced with another attorney. This was done without both attorneys filing their required separation and appearance papers.
However, when I took over my lawsuit, my former attorney was ordered to file separation papers. I (Plaintiff) was told to file my appearance papers and email them to the judge’s chamber and put the defendants’ attorneys on CC (which I did). It appears that Judge Neil H. Cohen only enforces rules with litigants like me.
So here I am. I’m stuck in an unfinished condo, evidence that supports my situation, and ironically, it looks like I’m not going to be able to receive justice from our so-called legal system.
So again, I just wanted to do this episode because I want to warn consumers (especially first-time home buyers) about purchasing properties that are advertised as full gut rehab and the loopholes within the legal system that prevent individuals like myself from receiving justice.
My lawsuit is against very affluent people whose attorneys work with large law firms and insurance companies and do not want to lose to a pro se.
Hopefully, this episode will help someone else, and if you know any reporters or journalists, send them my way!