For the third time this year, Evanston landlord Sargon Isaac has been sued by former tenants, all of whom claim Isaac provided unsafe and unsanitary housing and refused to make repairs because the residents were Black.
But the latest suit, filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court, also alleges the Housing Authority of Cook County (HACC) knew about the deplorable conditions, but still let government Section 8 vouchers help pay the rent, and has taken “little or no action” to get the properties repaired.
According to the lawsuit, the Housing Authority “employs inspectors to review” the dwelling units, and so was aware of the problems.
“However,” the suit continues, “due to their financial interest in continuing to do business with Sargon, HACC fails to require him … to maintain the subject properties.”
Attorney Sheryl Ring filed all three cases. The most recent one is on behalf of former tenants Tanisha McGrone and Antoinette Gamble, who both lived in the Isaac property at 120 Callan Ave., but at different times during the past few years, and in different units.
Each lawsuit has multiple examples of what are described as “unsafe, unsanitary and uninhabitable” conditions.
The current suit says that McGrone was moved to a different Isaac property after she complained to the City of Evanston. But, the document continues, “conditions in the [new] unit were even worse” than in the Callan building, including “urine and sewage leaking from electrical units causing electrical shorts ….”
This suit asks for at least $10 million in damages, and is also seeking class action status, in order to bring in other Isaac tenants.
A spokesperson for the Housing Authority tells Evanston Now that the agency does not comment on pending litigation.
Voicemail messages were also left for Sargon Isaac, and for his son Peter Isaac, who is also a defendant in all three lawsuits, however, we have not received a response.
The filings say that Sargon Isaac has more than 128 housing units in Evanston, and also has a long history of code violation citations.