A judge appoints a receiver to make sure the dilapidated Lincoln Mall in Matteson makes repairs. But a mall lawyer worries it's a Pyrrhic victory, which could be the mall's undoing. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.
Matteson's Lincoln Mall will not close but who manages it will change.
Judge Thomas Condon on Thursday afternoon appointed a receiver to take over care of Lincoln Mall on U.S. Highway 30 in the far south suburb.
Village officials last week filed a lawsuit to close the mall due to outstanding safety and building code violations. They took closure off the table earlier in the day and called for a court-appointed receiver who would keep the mall open while concerns are addressed.
The mall's owner, Michael Kohan, argued he could make the necessary changes without a receiver and said he'd placed $100,000 in an account from which the city can draw. The total cost of all the repair work is estimated at about $1.3 million.
"I'm happy that the repairs are going to get done and people can come out and feel safe and comfortable," store owner Dee Jones said.
The first focus will be on finding escape routes during a fire.
"We're going to punch a hole in the side of one of the buildings to build an exit door out, we're going to build a fire door very quickly," Matteson attorney Tony Licata said.
Others are worried that the receiver may cause the tenants of the national chains to get cold feet and pull out of the mall.
The lawsuit filed by village officials last week cites more than 25 violations that create what said were dangerous conditions that threaten shoppers' health, including exposed electrical wiring, a dismantled sprinkler system, blocked fire exits and a crumbling roof.
Condon last week gave Kohan one week to show progress on fixing the mall's issues.