Lincoln Mall owner says he will make repairs
BY CASEY TONER email@example.com August 14, 2013 10:39PM
The east end of Lincoln Mall remains a demolition site. Village inspectors cited this as a code violation. | Photo: Casey Toner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 17, 2013 8:01AM
Lincoln Mall’s owner said Wednesday that he will wire $100,000 to Matteson and submit a plan to fix the indoor mall, which the village claims is unsafe because of numerous building and fire code violations.
“I don’t know who related the information that we don’t care about the mall,” said Mike Kohan, the principal investor of Lincoln Mall Holding LLC. “I owned it about a year, and I will do whatever is in my power to keep the tenants happy.”
Matteson filed a lawsuit last week asking a Cook County judge to shut down the mall, U.S. 30 and Cicero Avenue, and appoint a receiver to operate it due to the violations that include exposed wiring, a crumbling foundation and fire exits that are blocked, among other things. About half of the 40-year-old mall is vacant.
Circuit Court Judge Thomas Condon gave Kohan a week, starting Aug. 8, to come up with a plan to correct the code problems and wire the village $100,000, which is to be placed in an escrow account. Another hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at the county courthouse in Markham.
Kohan — whose company acquired the mall in June 2012 for $150,000 and about $700,000 in back taxes — said he plans to comply with Condon’s order.
Village manager Brian Mitchell said Kohan’s attorneys toured the mall on Tuesday. He said he believes Kohan will follow through on the judge’s order.
The lawsuit says Lincoln Mall isn’t the only troubled retail property owned by Kohan.
Woodville Mall in Northwood, Ohio, was closed in 2011 because of fire and building code violations, including holes in the roof, water leaking into the mall, a partially failed alarm system, pervasive mold and mildew and no heat, according to the lawsuit, which says Kohan’s company took over that mall in 2009.
“I think he believes that property is still worth something, and he’d like to make some money out of it,” Northwood city administrator Bob Anderson said. “He needs to take care of what has been a nuisance.”
A judge this month ordered Kohan’s company to pay Northwood $750,000 and fix Woodville Mall or demolish it by May 2014.
“It’s not because I bought it that it happened,” Kohan said about the mall’s closure. “Anybody who bought that would have done worse than I did.”
Malls that Kohan owns in Florissant, Mo., and Effingham, Ill., also had issues with unpaid bills, according to the lawsuit. Kohan said the bills from both of those malls, which are operational, and up to date and paid.