Dear Ms. Broude,
I am Tommie Hannah, co-chair of the Wilson Men’s Hotel Tenants Association (1124-28 W. Wilson, Chicago, IL). We are writing because Coldwell Banker owns Chicago Apartment Finders, which is managed by Mr. Andy Ahitow, the owner of Wilson Men’s Hotel.
The Wilson Men’s Hotel is a 250-unit Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Building. It is a critical affordable housing resource for myself and my neighbors. More information and background about the Wilson can be found here: https://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/brown-sale-of-cubicle-hotel-in-uptown-puts-residents-at-risk/
We would like to alert you to the behavior of Mr. Ahitow, and the company =he runs, City Pads LLC, at the Wilson Men’s Hotel. Based on his irresponsible and frequently illegal behavior, we believe he should be removed from his position managing Chicago Apartment Finders.
City Pads has repeatedly broken the law at the Wilson Men’s Single Room Occupancy Hotel (1124 W. Wilson, Chicago, IL) since City Pads purchased the property in July, 2017:
- On 10/31/2017, the City of Chicago issued a Stop Work Order for illegal building work. https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20171031/uptown/wilson-mens-hotel-tenants-moving-out-soon-city-stops-rehab-work. As stated in the article, this illegal work created significant disruptions in the lives of tenants.
- On 1/11/2018, the City of Chicago issued fines against City Padsand Emergency Motion for Receivership because of a lack of running water. This left nearly 100 tenants in an unsafe and unhealthy situation, without access to water for drinking or bathing. See attachment, or this link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1xX8qearcz9m9BRik-zb9PFt6Vkg7lYF5
- On 1/30/2018, the City of Chicago threatened a lawsuit against City Padsto block illegal eviction notices distributed in the building. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-wilson-hotel-sro-uptown-eviction-notice-20180131-story.htm. These likely illegal evictions threaten to displace tenants who have neither been given adequate time nor resources by City Pads to find suitable alternate housing.
City Pads has also repeatedly misled community members, City officials, and investors, through it’s President, Andy Ahitow:
- We believe that Mr. Ahitow misrepresented his relationship with a local community organization called ONE Northside when seeking financing to purchase the Wilson Men’s Hotel, by telling Community Investment Corporation that ONE Northside supported City Pads’ purchase of the building, which was not true.
- On 7/19/2017, following City Pads’ purchase of Wilson Men’s Hotel, City Pads committed to “collaborating with ONE Northside and current tenant associations to create a desirable, effective and safe relocation plan for current residents”. We reached out Mr. Ahitow to set a meeting through a letter signed by tenants the following week, but he ultimately refused to collaborate on this very topic. http://www.uptownupdate.com/2017/07/a-statement-from-city-pads-on-wilson.html
- City Pads promised the City of Chicago that City Pads would provide the City of Chicago with a relocation plan for the tenants of Wilson Men’s Hotel as required by the SRO Preservation Ordinance by November 30th, 2017. City Pads never did provide such a plan, instead City Pads posted eviction notices in Wilson Men’s Hotel on January 26th, 2018. In response, the City of Chicago then threatened a lawsuit on January 30th, 2018 (see link above).
Thank you for your attention. We hope to hear from you soon.
Tommie Hannah, Co-Chair
Wilson Men’s Hotel Tenants Association