Statement of Facts about Lawsuit Re: 6018 N. Kenmore
The Edgewater Historical Society & Museum and four board members (Betty Mayian, LeRoy Blommaert, Kathy Gemperle and Thom Greene) have been sued by the owner of the single family property at 6018 N. Kenmore for allegedly illegally interfering with the sale of the property to a condominium developer; the plaintiff is seeking $1.15 million in damages.(1) This was subsequently reduced to $600,000 on June 23, 2009.
EHS had taken a position to support the landmarking of the building, which is “orange” rated according to the City of Chicago. Under the city’s landmark ordinance, an “orange” rated building is the second highest rating and allows certain legal protections including provisions for requesting delaying demolition permits.(2)
EHS had also supported a plan, presented to the community by Alderman Smith, that had been developed by the City Department of Planning staff. That plan included the property at 6018 N. Kenmore in a Landmark District along with several other buildings in that vicinity. EHS and some other community organizations and individuals supported that proposal at the Alderman’s Zoning and Land Use Committee. The proposal failed.
Attorneys for EHS have filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit based on, among other reasons, the protections granted by the Illinois Citizen Participation Act (CPA), which was passed in 2007. CPA was passed to protect individuals and organizations from retaliatory and intimidating lawsuits, when legitimately expressing their first amendment rights in matters of zoning, development, etc. Sen. John Cullerton was the chief sponsor. The Act was supported by all the state legislators who represented Edgewater. (3)
EHS is being represented by attorney Richard F. Friedman and the law firm Neal & Leroy, LLC. All matters and discussions pertaining to the lawsuit are being handled by our attorneys.
Hearings on the motions to dismiss have been ongoing; we anticipate some resolution soon.
Information on EHS and preservation efforts is available at www.EdgewaterHistory.org.
The membership of EHS will be kept informed of the progress of the lawsuit.
EHS Board of Directors
(1) Plaintiff Brigatta Riedel, Trustee of the Walter and Marie Kraemer Living Trust; filed on September 16, 2008.
(2) From Preservation Chicago Web site: When a demolition permit for a Red or Orange rated building is applied for, the Landmarks Commission is notified and the demolition permit is posted on the city’s public web site. Once posted, a 90-day hold is placed on the demolition permit, although the city may release the hold sooner, under certain circumstances. During that time, research of the historic and/or architectural merit is done to determine if the building should receive Landmark Protection. Alternatives to demolition can also be explored.
(3) Senator Ronen and Representatives Osterman and Harris.