Tenants Take Grievances Against BJB to Crooked Developer’s Neighborhood

20130328_111539Press Contacts:
Melvin Jennings, 312-256-6772
Arbie Bowman, 773-302-5171

On Saturday morning, tenants of 1246 W. Pratt will fan out across developer Jamie Purcell’s neighborhood to inform his neighbors about how he treats the residents in his buildings. Afterward, they will present him with their own eviction notice at his Park Ridge home.

Tenants are fed up with the mass evictions carried out by his company, BJB, which is in the process of raising the rent in the building. Meanwhile tenants endure heat and hot water shut-offs, mice, roaches and bedbugs, broken elevators, and fire safety violations.

“A lot of people are low-income and elderly—they could be our parents. This hits them very hard,” says tenant Freddie St. Clair.

Tenants expect to begin passing out leaflets around 10:45 a.m. Saturday in Park Ridge. Their bus leaves from Rogers Park’s Astor House building, at 1246 W. Pratt, at 10 a.m. They will be joined by supporters from Northside Action for Justice, Metropolitan Tenants Organization, and Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction.

At Tuesday night’s tenant meeting, people shared horrifying stories of new eviction notices, abuse, and breaches of privacy by the building management. They unified around two demands. First: That BJB negotiate in good faith with tenants, in accordance with the law. Second: that the company remove its evictions from people’s records.

“He is taking away the only affordable housing left on the North Side,” tenant Melvin Jennings says of developer Jamie Purcell. It’s nearly impossible for tenants to find a place to live once they are forced out. “He is not concerned about tenants’ credit ratings being messed up from the eviction on their credit report,” Jennings adds.

Tenants say these problems are evidence of a citywide pattern of abuse by BJB. Mark Brown’s Chicago Sun-Times column published April 4 shows the company did the same thing at the Abbott Hotel, shutting off heat and water without waiting for evictions to run their course. Brown says that in that case, BJB exhibited “blatant disregard for the health and welfare of the tenants.” Lakeview Action Coalition is also embroiled in a battle with the company over its evictions of residents from the Hotel Chateau building.

Melvin Jennings wants to know: “Who is letting him do this? It reminds you of an old western—when the railroad is about to come through, the outlaws come and set fire to things and kill your cattle to get your land for the developers.”

WHAT: Tenants will inform developer Jamie Purcell’s neighbors about the campaign of mass evictions and displacement that his company, “Bedbugs, Board-Ups and Bad News” BJB Properties, is carrying out against low-income tenants.

WHO: Residents of Rogers Park’s Astor House Building and supporters from Northside Action for Justice, Metropolitan Tenants Organization and Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction

WHEN & WHERE: Bus leaves from 1246 W. Pratt at 10 a.m. Saturday April 6. Tenants will begin giving information to Purcell’s neighbors in Park Ridge at 10:45 a.m. and will gather back together for an action around 11:20 a.m.

About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

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