@properties, homebuyer sued for failing to hand over escrow funds

The homeowners say they lost out on a deal for a new home due to the failed sale

By Joe Ward | September 14, 2018 02:00PM

6956 North Ridge Boulevard (Credit: Redfin)

UPDATE, Sept. 18, 9 a.m.: A Chicago homebuyer and @properties are being sued after refusing to fork over escrow funds when a deal to buy a North Side condo fell through.

Husband-and-wife duo Kevin Jamison and Karla Davis listed their condo in the 6900 block of North Ridge Boulevard earlier this year. In March, Mojisola Kayode entered into a contract with the couple to buy the property, but the deal quickly turned south, according to a lawsuit filed in Cook County.

After several weeks of negotiations and “numerous demands for concessions” by Kayode, the sellers decided to terminate the purchase agreement, according to the suit. But once the contract was terminated, Kayode found a new broker and told that broker to negotiate to buy the condo while refusing to disclose her as the buyer, the suit alleges.

The homeowners later determined who the buyer was. Another purchase contract was signed, but this one included a clause that escrow funds would not be refundable if the deal did not close. Both parties agreed to the language, the lawsuit says.

After pushing back the closing date to May 31, Kayode informed the sellers on May 30 that she would not be approved for her loan and asked for another extension, according to the suit.

The sellers declined, and instead sent a notice of cancellation of the purchase agreement and informed Kayode the escrow funds would not be returned.

The homeowners then asked @properties, who was holding the escrow money in the deal, to release the escrow funds, but the company has failed to do so, the suit says. Kayode has also refused to OK the releasing of the escrow funds to the homeowners and has allegedly instructed @properties not to do so, according to the suit.

Kayode could not be reached.

In a statement, @properties said it is merely abiding by the Illinois Real Estate License Act, which control’s a broker’s duties as an escrow agent.

“The Act expressly precludes a broker from releasing earnest money absent agreement of both parties, a closing, or an order of the court. Because no broker, who is in compliance with the Act, has the latitude to make decisions regarding the disbursement of escrow funds, @properties is following its legal obligations in holding said funds,” the statement said.

Jamison and Davis lost the chance to buy a new home because of the canceled deal to sell their condo, according to the suit. The couple is suing Kayode and @properties for at least the $3,000 escrow funds.

This story has been updated to add the statement from @properties.