Owners in Porch Collapse Face Lawsuit
CHICAGO (AP) _ The city on Wednesday sued the owners and managers of the apartment building where 13 people died in a porch collapse, demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties for allegedly building the deck without a permit.
The city also alleged that the porch was too large and did not have the proper-sized support beams, causing it to crash onto two lower porches during a party early Sunday in Chicago’s affluent Lincoln Park neighborhood. About 50 people, most of them in their 20s, were on the porch when it fell.
``It was too big and not constructed properly,″ said Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department, which filed the complaint.
The city asked for a court order requiring immediate replacement of the porch and is seeking up to $500 a day for each violation. That would add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars considering the porch was built in 1998.
The city of Chicago filed a complaint in Housing Court against LG Properties; Philip Pappas, president of LG Properties; Restoration Specialists LLC; Thomas Libby, mortgagee of the premises; and George Koutroumos, the contractor who built the porch.
Pappas is scheduled to return Thursday from a trip to Canada, according to a woman who answered the phone Tuesday at LG Properties. LG Properties on Wednesday referred calls to Mike Aufrecht, an attorney for Pappas, who would not talk to a reporter from The Associated Press. However, he had a receptionist who would not give her name read a brief statement.
``We have already given all information that we have to the press and we await Mr. Pappas’ return for further comment,″ the woman said.
Police have said they do not plan to file criminal charges in the collapse, which injured at least 57 people.
The Buildings Department is inspecting 42 other buildings owned or managed by Pappas and LG Properties, but those results were not available Wednesday.
Democratic state Sen. Barack Obama of Chicago said the investigation into the collapse could prompt new statewide regulations. State lawmakers made a similar move after a deadly Feb. 17 nightclub stampede, banning pepper spray in nightclubs.