DeKALB – Embattled landlord Hunter Ridegbrook Properties LLC has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of DeKalb for $10 million for what it says are violations of its consitutional rights and a strategically planned “assault” against Hunter and its affiliates.
The lawsuit calls out “unequal, unfair and discriminatory treatment” by city staff to Hunter Properties.
The lawsuit was filed Friday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Western Division by former DeKalb County States Attorney Clay Campbell, who represents the property owner. The suit claims the city has targeted Hunter Properties and that the landlord is the subject of concentrated attacks by city staff.
The suit also alleges that Hunter Property-owned buildings and staff were intentionally left out of the 2017 Annie Glidden North Revitalization Plan despite being a major property holder in the targeted area.
Evanston-based Hunter Properties LLC is DeKalb’s largest landlord. Through subsidiaries it owns almost 1,000 rental units in DeKalb, city officials have said, more than any other company. Those include two buildings where tenants were forced from their homes after July fires which police believe were set intentionally displaced almost 200 people.
The fires fueled intense public debate between city officials and Hunter representatives, including Campbell, about the state of the properties.
In a press conference July 9 following the first fire, City Manager Bill Nicklas called the apartment scene “shameful,” among other sharp criticisms.
Campbell then responded that he was “a little dismayed” by Nicklas’ comments, saying it seemed the city was blaming Hunter Properties for actions of a yet unknown arsonist.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.