Judge takes control of Kenwood apartments, appoints operator

Residents of Ellis Lakeview have reported unsafe living conditions for years

Tenants Win Fight Against Suburban Chicago Apartment Landlord

A photo illustration of 4624 South Ellis Avenue (Getty, Google Maps)

Persistent complaints of wretched living conditions at a Kenwood apartment complex led a Cook County Circuit Court judge to seize control of the property and appoint an operator.

Judge Lloyd Brooks ruled that Apex Chicago IL, the owner of the 105-unit Ellis Lakeview, at 4624 South Ellis Avenue, must give up its management rights to a court-appointed receiver, Block Club reported

Real estate firm Trigild IVL will now oversee the property, while 5T Management likely will remain the property manager. 

Ellis Lakeview residents have reported complaints for years, including plumbing problems, pest infestations, security breaches and broken elevators. Residents filed a class-action lawsuit against Apex in August 2022, and the legal battle intensified about a year later when lending giant Freddie Mac sided with tenants by also suing Apex and pursuing foreclosure.

Judge Brooks’ ruling came after multiple warnings and opportunities for Apex to address the living conditions reported by residents since at least September 2020. Apex’s attorneys, Joshua Kahane and Carrie Dolan, didn’t contest the receivership request, and they resigned from the case.

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“We worked too long, too hard; we’ve been through too much, and we just throw our hands up [in celebration],” Ellis Lakeview resident Laprena Brown told the outlet. “Fight the power. We did it.”

Read more

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Ellis Lakeview Apartment buildings at 4624 South Ellis Avenue
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Despite Apex agreeing to maintain a repair fund of $350,000 in 2022, the fund fell significantly short in recent months as it hovered around $42,000, prompting Freddie Mac’s intervention. Apex, receiving federal housing subsidies, allegedly diverted funds to its affiliate companies and legal fees instead of addressing the property’s problems.

Apex received more than $120,000 per month in November and December to pay management, but 5T only saw a fraction of those federal funds. Freddie Mac stepped in to pay 5T Management directly, due to Apex’s nonpayment. The situation had left Ellis Lakeview at risk of being without oversight for daily operations.

Residents are cautiously optimistic that Trigild IVL’s oversight will address long-standing maintenance set backs. 

—Quinn Donoghue 

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