The Crusader Newspaper Group

Chatham Park seniors want resignation of some board members

Residents want Indiana company fired

By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader

Scores of seniors living in the historic Chatham Park Village Cooperative are up in arms over the management of their 70-year-old complex and are demanding that most of the board resign from office.

They are upset that the board has hired an Indianapolis, Indiana management company, Kirkpatrick Management Company, headed by Robert Kirkpatrick, and lawyers that are supposed to represent them, but don’t.

The residents are paying that lawyer, a white woman, $200,000 a year but say she does not fight for their rights. They want her fired.

Taking the lead is Loretta Killen, chairman of the Court Council, who has lived in the cooperative for 25 years. Killen said they have had three management companies and each one has focused on fixing up the vacancies, which she says now number 80. “What about fixing up our units, the ones we are occupying,” she said.

And while the cooperative recently received natural gas savings through the DRF’s Resource Conservation Solutions Program, which installed state-of-the art boilers, many of them did not work. Residents were forced to buy space heaters to keep warm. Their pleas to fix their boilers have allegedly fallen on deaf ears.

Several weeks ago, the seniors, who are retired teachers and other professionals, invited this reporter to a board meeting. Within minutes of arriving I spotted the board president, Birdella Braden, talking to Attorney April Knoch from the Pentiuk, Couvreur & Kobiljak, P.C. law firm in Wyandotte, Michigan. Knoch is the lawyer hired by the board to protect the tenants’ rights. Unfortunately, many of the tenants believe Knoch sides with the board rather than with them.

Braden walked up to me, got in my face and told me I had to leave. When I refused, one of the residents interceded and told her to back off. The meeting became spirited with seniors chanting, “Ho, ho, ho, the board has to go” after my refusal to leave.

The residents, including April Branch, secretary to Reverend Jesse Jackson, complained that their work orders are not filled in a timely manner. Branch said the ceiling in her upstairs hallway is caving in. She put in her work order a year ago. “I just need someone to fix it,” she said. She fears one day it will cave in.

Three weeks prior to this meeting my calls to Kirkpatrick were not returned although his assistant did take down my concerns. Also, calls placed to the president of the Chatham board were not returned.

Chatham Park Village Cooperative, where rents range from $558-$1,105 a month, is located at 737 E. 83rd Pl.

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