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Judge OKs loan for fire exits at Lincoln Mall

Updated: February 11, 2014 6:37AM



A Cook County judge on Thursday agreed to let a receiver he put in control of Lincoln Mall borrow up to $225,000 from a major retailer to pay for the construction of emergency fire exits within the indoor mall.

Circuit Court Judge Thomas Condon also gave the village of Matteson veto power over any potential buyer of the financially struggling mall, U.S. 30 and Cicero Avenue. The case is next due in court Feb. 12.

Attorney Michael Aschenbrener, representing the mall owner, Lincoln Mall Holding, argued that granting the village such authority would hamper the company’s ability to sell the half-empty mall.

Attorney John Kennedy, representing the village, said the receiver would obtain the loan from Carson Pirie Scott, which has a store in the mall that it leases. The loan will have an 8 percent interest rate and must be repaid before the mall is sold and prior to all other liens against the company, according to its terms.

The judge’s decisions were the latest developments in a series of legal actions surrounding the mall since the village filed a lawsuit in August threatening to close it, citing a series of safety and fire code violations. As a result of the suit, Condon appointed a receiver to operate the mall and make needed repairs. New York-based Lincoln Mall Holding bought Lincoln Mall in June 2010 for $150,000.

John Suzuki, president of Collateral Trustee, the receiver, previously testified in court that the mall is losing about $100,000 a month and its owner owes about $1.5 million in unpaid property tax.

Condon earlier ordered Lincoln Mall Holding to provide $200,000 for mall repairs, but the company only gave $100,000. The judge last month ordered a company official to appear Thursday to explain the shortfall or the company would be found in contempt of court. No company officer showed up, but Lincoln Mall Holding paid another $50,000 on Dec. 19 so that matter was continued.



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