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July 28, 2010

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN SUES CHICAGO AREA CONDO
MANAGEMENT GROUP

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against a Chicago-area property management company and its proprietor for defrauding local condo associations out of more than $140,000.

The lawsuit alleges that Van Witz Management Corp., of Palos Hills, Van Witz Real Estate Services, Inc., of Oak Lawn, and Pamela Van Witzenburg, an Illinois realtor residing in Dyer, Indiana, failed to provide many of the management services for which the condo associations contracted, including failing to pay utility bills and insurance premiums for some of the properties.

“Instead of keeping these properties safe and secure for the people who live there, the defendants did little more than enrich themselves with the residents’ fees,” Madigan said. “The defendants not only violated their trust, they broke the law and they must be held accountable.”

The Attorney General’s complaint alleges several violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, including that the defendants:

  • Failed to pay utility bills as required and then misrepresented to their client associations that the bills had been paid. As a result, utility services for many of the properties were shut off;

  • Allowed liability and casualty insurance on some properties to lapse after failing to pay the premiums as required. The defendants also failed to inform the condo associations that coverage had been discontinued;

  • Commingled assessments collected from different condo associations and failed to keep separate books to track ownership of the funds; and

  • Collected money from associations to pay the associations’ creditors and then kept the funds for their own use.

Attorney General Madigan is asking the court to permanently enjoin the defendants from engaging in the business of condominium property management. Madigan also is seeking to have the defendants pay restitution to consumers, a civil penalty of $50,000 per defendant, additional penalties of $50,000 for each act committed with the intent to defraud, and additional penalties of $10,000 for each act committed against a senior citizen.

Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Slider is handling the case for Attorney General Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.

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