Lake View hotel owner faces code violations in court
CHICAGO — In 1993, the single-room occupancy Paxton Hotel was one of Chicago’s deadliest SRO fires, and on Tuesday its owner, Jack Gore, will appear in court once again after a series of failed building inspections at his Hotel Chateau.
Twenty residents were killed in the Paxton Hotel fire, a building packed with major code violations, and a variety of Lake View community activists and government officials will attend Gore’s hearing next week to express their concerns.
Alderman James Cappleman, 46th, will attend the hearing as well as other representatives from his office, according to the alderman’s chief of staff Tressa Feher. Feher said she could not name the specific details of Gore’s hearing but said there is a significant amount of issues involved with the building.
“With any of these housing court hearings they give (the owner) a time frame to get the building violations fixed,” Feher said. “The hotel has not held up its side of the bargain.”
Feher said since Cappleman’s appointment in 2011, his office has been organizing a task force with neighbors, local businesses and community activists to create a plan to move forward with the issue.
“We’re just trying to get the owner to comply with the law and be a good neighbor,” Feher said.
The Hotel Chateau, 3838 N. Broadway, is not Gore’s only low-income housing unit and it is not his first run-in with the law. He owns several SROs including the Irving, Diplomat and Abbott Hotels, all on the North Side.
According to the Chicago Buildings Department, the city has sued Gore and his management company, Sabra Management, numerous times for code violations in each. The Hotel Chateau failed nine of its 11 city inspections this year and has failed 27 inspections since September 2001. Some of its recent violations include damaged fire escapes, missing or broken fire alarms, bathroom mildew buildup on the ceilings and floors, plumbing backups and defective electrical outlets. Gore could not be reached to comment on the issue.
The North Broadway building has typically been used as housing for clients of social service providers. Clients range from prisoners to mental health patients in need of affordable housing. Chester Kropidlowski, chairman of the East Lake View Neighbors Association, said the hotel has been an issue in the community for almost two decades. He said the concerns are primarily fueled by the hotel’s close proximity to a neighborhood park and the Horace Greeley Elementary School.
Lake View resident Jori Mazza, said she frequently brings her daughter to the park next door to the Chateau.
“Only during the day around noon, though,” Mazza said. “After that there are drug deals and people screaming and shouting.”
Mazza has observed these activities outside the hotel. She said it tends to increase during the summer months.
“It’s unfortunate too because it’s a really great park and I love taking (my daughter) here,” she said. “But I just don’t feel safe.”
Kropidlowski said he plans to attend Tuesday’s hearing, which will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St. He said he hopes it will help resolve some of the issues neighborhood issues, including those at the hotel.
“We don’t want to flood the courtroom and it’s not our intention to disrupt the hearing,” Kropidlowski said. “But we want the judge to know that this is a serious issue for us.”
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