Little Village Discount Mall Vendors at Risk of Eviction Sue Owner – NBC Chicago

A group of vendors from the Little Village Discount Mall have filed a lawsuit against the mall’s owner and against one of the mall’s management companies, they announced Tuesday.

The lawsuit aims to keep the vendors operating inside the mall until a judge can determine whether the vendors are legal tenants at the mall or just licensees who can be summarily closed.

“These people are tenants. At minimum, you should give them the basic legal rights any tenant should have,” Ramsin Canon, the group’s attorney, said at a City Hall news conference.

The group of about 40 vendors had been told by the mall’s owner, Novak Construction, that they would have to leave the mall by March 26. Management for the vendors, PK Mall Inc., told the group if they didn’t leave in time, their merchandise could be confiscated.

Canon said the ownership and management companies view the group as “licensees” at the mall, rather than tenants, meaning they can be closed at-will.

“That’s absurd,” he said. “Some of these people have been here 30-plus years.”

If a judge determines the vendors are in fact tenants, they could remain in place until their leases expire, Canon said. He added that they all signed annual leases at different times, meaning they would not all have to leave at once.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, is the latest action by the group as it seeks to remain in the mall at 26th Street and Albany Avenue.

Last Thursday, dozens of vendors traveled from the Lower West Side neighborhood to protest outside the Northwest Side offices of Novak Construction. Also, at a news conference in February, the group promised that they would seek legal action if Novak did not work with them to find a solution.

At last week’s protest, a representative of the company “made it clear” to the group they weren’t going to let them remain at the mall, a vendor told the Sun-Times. Also, sometime Tuesday night, the signs for the mall were painted over.

The treatment of the vendors has enraged many in Chicago’s immigrant community.

“We’re here to express our strongest condemnation to the inhumane order Novak wants to execute,” said Netza Roldan, head of immigrant advocacy group Binational Institute of Human Development.

“Not only will this action affect many small businesses, but it will also destroy a community,” he said. “This served as a ‘Times Square’ for many years.”

Elvira Arellano, a longtime immigration activist known for seeking sanctuary from deportation at a Chicago church, said the mall should be protected for its cultural significance.

People from all over the country, she said, would come to the mall because of its singular offerings and atmosphere, that for many immigrants felt like home.

“They came to identify with that love that is Mexico,” she said.

Michael Loria is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South Side and West Side.

Soruce :

Leave a comment

SMM Panel PDF Kitap indir