On Monday night, the City Council will address Resolution 2021-035 Authorizing the Approval of a Settlement and Release Agreement in the “Hunter Properties” Ordinance Violation Citations.
Since mid-2018, the City of DeKalb has continuously been in the Circuit Court of DeKalb County (the Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit) prosecuting Hunter Properties for a wide variety of building code violations that were not resolved by the Hunter ownership group or its management staff in the best interest of the health and safety of its residents. The resistance of Hunter Properties to the settlement of all outstanding claims prompted the City in mid-2019 to seek a legal and practical basis for (1) the settlement of all outstanding City claims and (2) the rigorous enforcement of property maintenance standards at the various properties, which collectively include slightly less than 1,000 units in the northwest quadrant of DeKalb.
Over the past year, City Attorney Matthew Rose has represented the City of DeKalb in a number of settlement conferences before Judge Brad Waller in the DeKalb County Circuit Court. Judge Waller has invested significant time and effort to mediate the parties’ vast differences. The end result of these conferences is a draft agreement which may help break the recurring cycle of code violations at Hunter Properties, the Hunter resistance to code compliance, and the costly litigation of outstanding Hunter code violations. The proposed settlement also puts into place a path toward a change in ownership of four principal properties under Hunter ownership, on the assumption that Hunter Properties will not otherwise cease its callous indifference to reasonable property standards and responsible management.
The material terms are as follows:
1) Hunter shall retain, in an arms-length transaction, a reputable, independent, licensed commercial real estate broker (currently identified as Marcus & Millichap and Triad Real Estate Partners) to sell, in arms-length transactions, within 42 months, the following Properties: Hunter Ridgebrook (808-832 Ridge and 832 Edgebrook), Hunter Tri-Frat (930-934 Greenbrier and 1024 W. Hillcrest), Lincoln Tower (1100 W. Lincoln), and Hunter Hillcrest (1011-1027 Hillcrest).
2) Hunter shall immediately undertake various repairs and security measures recommended by the City’s Building Department, Fire Department and Police Department.
Various rental groups and organizations are pleased with the decision of the city to challenge questionable landlords, with hopes of better housing options in the future.