A condominium board in Lincoln Park is suing Francis W. Parker School on claims that the elite private school used straw buyers to secretly — and fraudulently — buy up condos in the building.
The private school, with tuition at nearly $40,000 a year, began buying individual condos after the board of Belden by the Park rejected its $11.2 million offer to buy the century-old building to aid a larger expansion, according to the Chicago Tribune. It also unsuccessfully attempted to buy a nearby building for $19 million.
By January, the school had “secretly” acquired six of the 15 units in the Belden by the Park building.
According to the lawsuit, Mike Demetriou, a member of the Parker School board and the head of real estate firm Baum Realty Group, bought four units through a company he controlled after the bulk sale offer was denied.
The lawsuit alleges he committed common-law fraud and conspired to commit fraud. The suit also names Matthew Kirst, the former head of the condo association, for allegedly helping Parker School. Demetriou did not respond to a Tribune call for comment and Kirst declined comment.
Parker board of trustees president Rika Yoshida is married to Joe Mansueto, the billionaire founder of Morningstar.
[Tribune] — James Kleimann