An NBA championship ring and a 19-year career with the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, and Miami Heat have served Antoine Walker well, as has the approximately $110 million the former All-Star raked in over the years on the court. Sadly, those accolades don’t mean a thing to tenants at the Prairie Avenue, one of approximately a dozen apartment buildings owned by Walker’s various real estate ventures that have mold issues, broken sewer pipes, cockroach infestations, and electricity blackouts. Now the city of Chicago is taking matters into their own hands: enforcing code violations at Walker properties and even winning close to $1 million in court-ordered fines for shoddy repairs and unsafe living conditions. At least Walker is owning up: In a phone interview with the Chicago Tribune, he expressed sympathy for the residents of his properties. "I would like to humbly apologize to everyone who has been affected by the failings of my company," Walker told the Tribune. "It was never intended to present (tenants with) unacceptable living conditions." Walker added that he should have waited until his full retirement so he could be more involved in the day-to-day operations of his multifamily assets. That job was left to Walker’s friend Frederick Billings, who is currently out on bail after being arrested last march for running a $700,000 Windy City mortgage scam.
Lack of Interest
Post Properties founder John Williams might want to find his own private island in the coming weeks: The iconic developer is being sued by a South Carolina bank that alleges Williams and fellow Atlanta real estate magnates Wayne Mason and Ronald Leventhal have defaulted on $12 million in loans for Hampton Island Preserve, a luxury resort community that promises exclusive sea plane access and a $9 million horse stable for high-brow residents including Ben Affleck, who purchased two of the 370 lots priced between $400 grand and $4 million. First Citizens Bank and Trust Co. of Columbia, S.C., claim those sails aren’t going towards debt servicing and say the developers have not made interest payments since May. While he wouldn’t comment directly on the lawsuit, Hampton Island managing partner Leventhal tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the community is still open for business. “The recession has slowed us down like it would anybody in the luxury or up-end market,” Leventhal says. “But we’re hopeful that will change sometime next year.”
Size Doesn’t Matter
The Eastern Box Turtle may be only six inches long, but its status as a species of “special concern” in Massachusetts is nevertheless delaying progress on a Cape Cod affordable housing development. While planners for the Barnstable Housing Authority contend that their development plan for a 6.9-acre lot that includes natural turtle habitat has been designed to mitigate any impact to the animals, opponents still say construction of the apartments threatens both the box turtle and the neighborhood’s "natural heritage." Planners aren’t crawling back into their shells so easily, however, and have hired Sandwich, Mass.-based environmental consulting firm Horsley-Witten Group to evaluate the land and review any precautions necessary to protect both the landscape and the turtles.
Finally, MFE Senior Editor Les Shaver sent over a video link to the Quick & Quirky desk this week that was too good to pass by. Courtesy of FOX News in Tampa Bay, Fla., comes footage of a renegade runaway monkey—thought by wildlife officials to be a 30-pound macaque—making short climbing order of the Sabal Palms apartments. A firefighter shot the raw video footage of the simian-gone-wild as it leaps through the apartment complex, up a drainpipe, and then finally bounds from roof to roof. If only they could outfit this guy with a super’s utility belt and a mobile device, those cap ex improvements would be punched out in no time. After running off into the woods, authorities abandoned pursuit of the monkey, who remains at large.
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