A lawyer for the management company of the Tower Apartment Building, 25 Forest Ave. in downtown Riverside, said he expects a lawsuit against his client to be dismissed next month now that the company has cleaned up the ground-floor, corner commercial space.
Colin Lawler, attorney for Reliable Management Co. Inc., said that his client has, if anything, “overcompensated” in its cleanup efforts.
“Really, there were a lot of concerns, but no real problems identified,” Lawler said. “We overkilled [cleanup] because we want to make the village happy. … In terms of testing, we’ve done a ton of testing. I can’t stress enough that we’ve overcompensated to meet the village’s concerns.
“It’s my full expectation that the next time this is up in court, it’s going to get dismissed.”
On June 8, representatives from the village and Reliable will be back in a Cook County Circuit Court room as part of a lawsuit filed in February against the company.
The suit stemmed from an incident in July 2005 in which a broken toilet in a second-story apartment flooded the ground-floor corner commercial space, which formerly housed Arcade Antiques, damaging the commercial storefront and raising concerns that the space was unsafe for occupancy.
The suit threatened to impose stiff fines on the management company unless it cleaned up the property to the village’s satisfaction. All along, the village has contended it seeks compliance with their request rather than collecting fines.
According to Riverside Village Attorney Dean Krone, this week members of the village staff, a village attorney and a consultant from Hygieneering Inc., an industrial hygiene and environmental safety firm, will be inspecting the corner commercial space at 25 Forest Ave. to assess its condition.
After that the village will meet with representatives from Reliable Management “so we are all on the same page,” according to Krone.
Since the village filed its lawsuit in February, Reliable Management employed Richard Jensen of Jensen Environmental Management Inc. to conduct a visual inspection of the space. That inspection determined that there was no mold, fecal matter or water leakage present.
However, Jensen added that his inspection did not include accessing the area above the drop-ceiling directly below the second-floor apartment. He also recommended that access to the ceiling “be gained to observe for potential mold and bacteria and test for moisture content. If mold is observed …that area should be cleaned with a fungicidal agent.”
Jensen went on to say that “the entire process should be performed in a dehumidified environment” and that “the store ceiling should then be restored to reduce the danger of falling plaster.”
Asked about the area above the drop ceiling, Lawler said it had been inspected visually, but stopped short of saying any testing had been done. He added that when Jensen had done his inspection in March, the former tenant hadn’t moved out completely and that the area wasn’t fully accessible.
“Now the space is fully accessible, fully available,” Lawler said.