Chicago Lawyers? Phew!

Oh how a little power over your neighbors turns people into freaks! The neighbor battle linked below looks like fiction, but it really is happening in a Chicago condominium.

Ellis Levin is a lawyer who’s represented several condominium associations. He’s also been fired by a couple of them. But the bitterness that goes on in the Thorndale Beach North high-rise is beyond belief.

Sigrid Ingold is the president of the board, a position she’s held for 19 years. She and Lawyer Levin are pretty tight, and condo owners say the bullying by Ingold and Levin is crazy.

Catherine McCarty got herself elected to the board in an effort to thwart the ongoing threats and fines liberally handed out to other condo owners. But now McCarty, herself, is being bullied by this pair of ‘nut jobs’. When a contractor suddenly appeared in the building to do some very costly repairs, McCarty questioned the board president about why other board members were never asked to approve or oversee the contract or the charges.

Suddenly, Lawyer Levin hit her with a notice of a $150 fine for harassing his good buddy, board president Ingold.

It happened again, when McCarty tried to talk to yet another contractor. This time it was a $450 fine plus more than 1500 bucks for legal fees. She refused to pay and is now facing a lien and possible confiscation of her home.

McCarty is demanding financial transparency. She’s demanding to know why president Ingold pays herself a $43,000 salary as a property manager. She wants to know why her association’s legal budget suddenly doubled after Levin was hired.  She’s demanding an audit (there’s been only one audit on the building and that was eighteen years ago). Other condo owners are furious because it’s impossible to sell a unit if a buyer can’t see an audit of the association’s finances. Most are afraid to speak out for fear of getting a ‘Levin letter’.

Lawyer Levin used to be in the state legislature.

Now he’s is in the running to be elected as a Cook County Judge.

As I said in my headline…Phew!

original source:

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

2 thoughts on “Chicago Lawyers? Phew!

  1. Nila

    Let’s see? Have I heard stories like this 1,000 or 2,000 times? I think some people think a 74 year old is always trustworthy…think again! I’ve been dealing with people over 70 years old on our board for 8 years and they will look you straight in the face and lie worse than a six year old!

  2. peggy

    Sounds familiar. Board Presidents and attorneys are in cahoots. The attorney makes $, and the President gets a sick power high. And the owners are too nervous to do anything.
    But most hide it better at meetings.


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