CHICAGO - Tenants of a Hyde Park apartment building are suing their management property after they were displaced on Christmas Eve due to an electrical outage.
Residents of Algonquin Apartments announced a class action lawsuit against MAC Property Management LLC on Wednesday citing the company's negligent maintenance.
Three tenants shared their experiences of losing their homes right before the holidays at a news conference on Thursday.
Shaunte Sims said the power went out on Dec. 23 and MAC Property Management said via email that it should only last few hours. Sims said on Christmas Eve morning it still was not back on, and her apartment was "freezing cold."
She was able to find other accommodations for a time. When she was able to go back, she found her door knocked down and her children's Christmas presents were gone as well as valuable items.
"It looked like my house was ransacked," Sims said.
Gabriella Johnson, said the experience of being evacuated by emergency personal was traumatizing and had lasting affects on her mental health.
"I was petrified," Johnson said.
The lawsuit claims that in 2021, MAC developed a pilot program with ComEd for one Algonquin building to redirect heating service from basement boilers to newly installed individual window heaters.
MAC Properties continued these installations in the remaining buildings without first seeking the proper permit through the Chicago Department of Buildings, and ComEd denies being involved in the second phase of work, the complaint continues.
The Chicago Department of Buildings reported this unpermitted work caused the outage.
Tenant Maxine Lathan reached out to MAC Properties in August 2022, raising concerns over the safety of the window heating units and that they could be a fire hazard due to potential electrical overload. She says she did not receive any response to that inquiry with MAC.
"When I lost heat, power, and water on December 23, I made it through the night by wearing multiple layers of clothing in an attempt to keep warm," said Lathan.
The complaint, which is available here, was filed in the Cook County Circuit Court.