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03/06/87 the People of the State of v. Easy Life Real Estate

March 6, 1987

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

EASY LIFE REAL ESTATE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT (EASY LIFE REAL ESTATE ET AL., DEFENDANTS)



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION

505 N.E.2d 1197, 153 Ill. App. 3d 74, 106 Ill. Dec. 406 1987.IL.264

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Joseph N. Casciato, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

Justice Pincham delivered the opinion of the court. Murray, J., concurs. Presiding Justice Sullivan, specially Concurring.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE PINCHAM

Defendants, Louis J. Prus, Thomas Reich, and Easy Life Real Estate and Management Company, Inc. (Easy Life), were each charged with the offense of solicitation of real estate (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 70-51(d)) in that they solicited Raymond O'Donnell, the owner of residential property located at 5122 West Schubert, Chicago, to list or sell such residential property after the defendants had received notice that O'Donnell did not want to list or sell said property.

The three defendants were jointly tried by a jury. At the close of the State's case, each defendant moved for a finding of not guilty. The court granted only the motion of the defendant, Louis Prus. Defendants Reich and Easy Life presented evidence in their defense. The jury acquitted Reich and found Easy Life guilty. The court imposed a fine of $800 upon Easy Life. Easy Life appeals.

The complaint against Easy Life alleged:

"Easy Life Real Estate and Management Co., Inc., a corporation, . . . on or about August 16, 1985 at 5122 West Schubert, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois committed the offense of Solicitation of Real Estate in that . . . officers of and agents for Easy Life Real Estate and Management Co., Inc., knowingly solicited Raymond H. O'Donnell, the owner of residential property located at 5122 West Schubert, Chicago, Illinois, on August 16, 1985, to sell or list such residential property, after said defendant had notice that said owner did not desire to sell or list said residential property, and that the acts performed by the defendant corporation were performed by defendant corporation authorizing, requesting, commanding and performing certain acts of commission and acts of omission by its officers, board of directors, agents and employees . . . acting within the scope of this employment in behalf of such corporation, performed said acts knowingly in violation of Chapter 38 Section 70 -- 51(d) ILLINOIS REVISED STATUTES."

The statute that Easy Life was alleged to have violated (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 70-51(d)) provides:

"Prohibition of Solicitation. It shall be unlawful for any person or corporation knowingly:

(d) To solicit any owner of residential property to sell or list such residential property at any time after such person or corporation has notice that such owner does not desire to sell such residential property."

The notice that is required in the aforementioned section may be given by the owner personally or by a third party in the owner's name, either in the form of an individual notice or in the form of a list. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 70-51(d)(1).) The notice in the form of a list is required to meet the specifications set forth in section 1(d)(2) of "An Act to prohibit the solicitation or inducement of sale or purchase of real estate . . ." (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 70-51(d)(2)), which provides:

"(2) Such notice shall be explicit as to whether each owner on the notice seeks to avoid both solicitation for listing and sale, or only for listing, or only for sale, as well as the period of time for which any avoidance is desired. The notice shall be dated and either of the following shall apply: each owner shall have signed the notice or the person or entity preparing the notice shall provide an accompanying affidavit to the effect that all the names on the notice are, in fact, genuine as to the identity of the persons listed and that such persons have requested not to be solicited as indicated."

It is provided in section 2(a) of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 70-52(a)) that a violation of the foregoing section is a Class A misdemeanor. Section 3 of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 38, par. 70-53) provides:

"Whenever a person is convicted of any violation of this Act, the clerk of the court shall report such conviction to the Department of Registration and Education, which shall thereupon revoke any certificate of registration as a real estate broker or real estate salesman held by such person." (Emphasis added.)

Prior to trial the assistant State's Attorney filed a motion in limine to exclude evidence at trial that the defendants could lose their real estate licenses if they were convicted. The court granted the motion.

The evidence at trial established the following: During 1981 and 1982, the Northwest Neighborhood Federation, a community organization, conducted an antisolicitation real estate drive. Staff members of the federation, along with community volunteers, obtained signatures from homeowners in the northwest area of Chicago who did not want to be solicited for the sale or listing of their property. The homeowner signed a form entitled "Notice Not to Solicit," which read as follows:

"I (We) the undersigned, owner(s) of the residential property located at Chicago, Illinois, do not desire to be and want to avoid being solicited to sell or list for the next five years (5), unless revoked prior to that time in writing. I (We) hereby authorize the Northwest Neighborhood Federation to inform real estate agents, brokers and other persons or corporations soliciting owners of residential property of my (our) request not to be solicited as indicated, as provided by Chapter ...


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