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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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June 8 , 2009

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN ALLEGES EVANSTON CONDO DEVELOPER LEFT RESIDENTS WITH DISABLITIES WITH NO ACCESS TO HOMES

Files Lawsuit Claiming Violation of Disability Rights Laws, Consumer Fraud

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced today that she has filed a lawsuit against real estate developer Thomas Roszak and his related businesses for failing to comply with accessibility laws in the design and construction of an Evanston condominium complex. The developer has left new condo buyers, including several with disabilities that require accessible features, with no accessible means for entering and exiting their condominium building.

"The developer has failed to ensure that the newly-built residences are safe and accessible as required under the law," Madigan said. "The accessibility standards have been in place for more than 20 years. There is no excuse for putting residents and visitors with disabilities in danger by failing to ensure that there is an accessible path in and out of these complexes."

According to Madigan's complaint, the defendants specifically targeted potential buyers with disabilities when marketing the Sienna Court Condominiums property, located at 1720-1740 N. Oak St., in Evanston, claiming the property would be easily accessible to people with disabilities. The developer, however, did not finish the project, leaving an excavated pit where the accessible route for people with disabilities was planned. As a result, there is no accessible entrance for people with disabilities; and other residents and visitors can only enter the development through a cumbersome, inaccessible path that requires trespassing through an unaffiliated parking garage.

Madigan's lawsuit alleges that the defendants' misleading advertising violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. The lawsuit further alleges that the defendants' failure to fully implement the measures needed to provide accessibility for residents with disabilities violates the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Environmental Barriers Act.

In addition to Thomas Roszak, Madigan's complaint names the following Roszak companies as defendants: TR Sienna Partners, LLC, TR Sienna, Inc., TR Management, Inc., TR Management and Consulting, LLC, Thomas Roszak Architecture, LLC, and Roszak/ADC, LLC. The suit asks the court to order the defendants to address the accessibility violations and pay a $50,000 civil penalty for each violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, a $25,000 civil penalty for violating the Illinois Human Rights Act, and a $250 fine for each day the complex continues to violate the Environmental Barriers Act in addition to costs for the investigation and prosecution of the case.

Attorney General Madigan's office enforces state and federal laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities to equal access by investigating complaints, working to resolve violations and, when necessary, taking legal action against violators. In addition to enforcing the law, the office provides technical assistance to individuals with disabilities and to public and private entities seeking to comply with the disability rights laws. Assistant Attorneys General Ben Johnson and Erin Ipjian are handling the case for Madigan's Disability Rights Bureau.

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