Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

David Schlessinger v. the Chicago Housing Authority

November 13, 2012

DAVID SCHLESSINGER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY, CVR ASSOCIATES, INC., CHARLES WOODYARD (INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY),
ANA VARGAS (INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY),
KEN LOVE (INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY),
MICHAEL PEREZ (INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY),
JANICE STEWART (INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY),
JESSICA PORTER (INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY),
SAM IYELO A/K/A SALVATORE AIELLO (INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY),
KEITH COLEMAN (INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY), AND
JOHN DOE (INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY), DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Joan B. Gottschall

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

Plaintiff David Schlessinger brought a six-count complaint against Defendants The Chicago Housing Authority ("the CHA"), CVR Associates, Inc. ("CVR"), and individual employees and officers of the CHA and CVR Charles Woodyard, Ana Vargas, Ken Love, Michael Perez, Janice Stewart, Jessica Porter, Salvatore Aiello, and Keith Coleman (collectively, "Defendants"). Schlessinger alleges violations of his civil rights and various state laws. Now before the court is Defendants' motion to dismiss the action pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and 12(f)(2). For the reasons that follow, the court dismisses the civil rights claims in counts I & II of the complaint. Because Schlessinger's federal claims are not actionable, the court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state-law claims.

I. BACKGROUND

The court takes Schlessinger's allegations as true for purposes of the motion to dismiss. Schlessinger's complaint contains thirty pages of confusing factual allegations, which the court will summarize as best it can. According to the complaint, Schlessinger is a landlord who has participated since 2005 in the Housing Choice Voucher ("HCV") program, the federal government's Section 8 program providing assistance to renters in the private market. Under the HCV program, once a program participant has located an approved rental unit, a local public housing agency, such as the CHA, will pay the landlord a rent subsidy. The agency must inspect the rental unit in accordance with the agency's guidelines, federal regulations, and local law. CVR is a company contracted by the CHA to inspect units as part of the HCV program.

Schlessinger has owned and operated approximately sixteen rental units leased to HCV program participants since 2005. He entered into a housing assistance payment ("HAP") contract with the CHA for each of the units. Pursuant to the contracts, the CHA paid a portion of monthly rent on behalf of the tenants. Schlessinger has been subjected to about twenty inspections per year by the CHA.

In 2008, Schlessinger began to voice opposition to the CHA's system of inspecting HCV units, challenging the inspectors' accuracy and competency. Between January and May 2009, he complained to officers and agents of the CHA about the inspections, complained at a CHA Public Board of Directors meeting, contacted the Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") with complaints, and sent a letter to officers and agents of the CHA complaining that the CHA was violating its contract with HUD. In July 2009, he received a letter from the CHA's Senior Vice President apologizing for the inconsistency of the inspections. He was also provided with the personal cell phone number of the CEO of McCright and Associates, the company doing the inspections at the time. This resulted in a temporary remedy for Schlessinger's complaints.

CVR took over operations for the HCV program on or about January 1, 2011. After the resumption of inspections Schlessinger viewed as incompetent, Schlessinger again complained to CHA officers and agents. Between March and June 2011, he voiced his complaints at the CHA's Public Board of Directors meeting. In April 2011, a tenant abandoned one of Schlessinger's properties without required notice. The CHA allowed the tenant to relocate to another property, despite the fact that the tenant owed rent to Schlessinger and was still under a current lease.

During inspections of Schlessinger's properties conducted between January and August 2011, the CHA failed Schlessinger for deficiencies that Schlessinger claims did not exist, were not grounds for failure under the appropriate guidelines, and/or were not Schlessinger's responsibility. Schlessinger incurred expenses for repairs. Many of the inspections were reevaluated by the CHA, but the CHA did not always update its system to reflect corrections. Schlessinger had to request letters from the CHA stating that his properties had passed inspection, and he did not always receive the letters. Schlessinger spoke to Ken Love, the CHA's Deputy Director of Inspections, by phone. Mr. Love apologized to him for problems with the CHA's online system.

On or about July 27, 2011, Schlessinger contacted the Director of HUD to file further complaints against the CHA. On or about August 15, 2011, he faxed a letter of complaint to Jessica Porter, the Senior Vice President of the CHA. He sent copies to the HUD Director and to Ken Love, the CHA's Deputy Director of Public Housing Janice Stewart, and Jerome Davidson.

He also spoke to Ms. Porter by phone. He complained about several problems with the inspection process, specifically that one of his tenants had received a Notice of Intent to Terminate ("NIT") her housing voucher due to repairs not completed, when he had received a letter stating that the property had passed inspection. In August 2011, Ms. Porter initiated a conference call with Schlessinger, CVR CEO Ana Vargas, Mr. Love, and CHA Inspections Manager Keith Coleman. Ms. Porter asked Schlessinger to provide written documentation that failed items had been corrected and to allow the CHA to reinspect the failed items. Schlessinger objected to a reinspection because the property had already passed inspection but relented based on Ms. Porter's assurances that only the items in dispute would be inspected. Instead, a complete inspection of the property was conducted on August 17, 2011, and many violations were cited. Schlessinger was not provided a copy of the inspection report until August 29, 2011. He exchanged emails with Mr. Love and requested an extension of time to make repairs. On August 31, 2011, Schlessinger received a letter stating that the inspector had noted criminal activity and unauthorized tenants in the premises, and that the CHA planned to take action against the tenant.

On September 1, 2011, Schlessinger received a HAP payment for March 2011 with $7,800.00 deducted from the amount due. No reason was given for the deduction. After contacting Mr. Love, Schlessinger was informed that the HAP contract for one of his units was being terminated. Schlessinger continues to incur losses each month for the unit; a tenant resides in his unit but Schlessinger is not receiving subsidy payments from the CHA.

On September 29, 2011, Schlessinger filed a complaint against the CHA and CVR in the Circuit Court of Cook County for Breach of Contract and Tortious Interference with Contract. Seven days later, on October 6, 2012, the CHA sent five of his tenants NITs.

In October and November 2011, Schlessinger had several conversations and exchanged emails with officers and agents of the CHA regarding one of his tenants, Yolanda Booth. Ms. Booth's lease did not expire until October 31, 2012, but on or about November 2, 2011, Schlessinger received a letter from the CHA stating that Ms. Booth intended to vacate the property on October 31, 2011. Ms. Booth actually abandoned the property on November 9, 2011, without giving Schlessinger thirty days notice. The CHA sent Schlessinger a letter stating that $1,490.00 in housing payments for Ms. Booth were overpaid to him for November 2011 and would be deducted from his next HAP payment. Ms. Booth caused damage to the property and removed Schlessinger's items from the property. Schlessinger sent emails to Ms. Stewart stating that the CHA was harassing and retaliating against him by violating HUD and CHA regulations. He told Ms. Stewart that Ms. Booth had stolen his refrigerator and stove and had caused damage to the property. Ms. Stewart responded by admitting that the CHA had not provided Schlessinger with timely notice of Ms. Booth's intent to vacate the property.

Another of Schlessinger's tenants, Michelle Sanders, filed a notice of intent to vacate her unit with the CHA on December 31, 2011, even though her lease did not expire until August 31, 2012. The CHA informed Schlessinger that it was terminating his HAP contract for the unit. Ms. Sanders did not provide Schlessinger with thirty days notice of her intent to vacate the property. Schlessinger filed a motion for a temporary restraining order on December 29, 2011. The motion was denied, but the CHA canceled the moving papers for Ms. Sanders.

On January 17, 2012, an inspection was conducted on one of Schlessinger's properties, and certain items failed the inspection. On January 31, 2012, the CHA terminated one of Schlessinger's tenants from the HCV program without a hearing, causing financial loss to Schlessinger. On February 29, 2012, another tenant was terminated without a hearing, causing further financial loss to Schlessinger. A third tenant was terminated from the HCV program as of May 31, 2012.

In January 2012, the CHA conducted an informal hearing for another tenant, Ms. Christine Pearson, who had received an NIT on October 6, 2011. Ms. Pearson's housing voucher was restored. The CHA sent Schlessinger a letter stating that it was going to inspect one of his properties on February 15, 2012, although Schlessinger had not received rent for the property since March 1, 2011. The CHA did not pay Schlessinger the rent due, and he did not allow the inspection. On or about March 16, 2012, the CHA sent Schlessinger a notice that it was going to terminate Ms. Pearson from the HCV program for prohibiting the inspection. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.