Ronald Theodore, who rented aldermanic candidate Carolyn Murray’s Evanston home until last November, claims Murray failed to give him legally required written notice when she decided not to renew his lease so she could move back into the house and launch her campaign.
Theodore says Murray listed her address on his lease as 13094 W. Yorkshire Lane in the Lake County village of Beach Park.
Theodore also says Murray unfairly deducted $89 from his security deposit, and that she seemed to be threatening him when he complained, warning him that “you don’t know who you’re dealing with.”
Under state law aldermanic candidates are supposed to have resided in the ward they seek to represent for a year before the election.
Evanston’s city code is somewhat more permissive, saying aldermanic candidates must have resided in the city for a year, and be a resident of the ward at the time of the election.
Murray’s home at 1930 Grey Ave. is on the left in this image from the Cook County Assessor’s Office.
However, courts have tended to interpret the residency concept broadly, as in the case of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who rented out the Chicago home he owned while he served as chief of staff to President Obama before returning to Chicago to run for mayor.
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that despite his absence from the city for part of the required residency period, his name still should appear on the 2011 mayoral election ballot. (A broader review of court interpretations of candidate residency requirements can be found here.)
Evanston’s city code requires landlords to give tenants 30 days written notice of a decision not to renew a lease and, if the landlord doesn’t give the notice on time, it permits tenants to remain in the property for two months after the written notice finally is given.
Theodore, who continues to live in Evanston, says Murray verbally told him on Sept. 18, 2016, that she wouldn’t renew the lease but never provided a written notice. He says he moved out on schedule on Nov. 1, 2016.
Theodore, who’d lived in Murray’s home at 1930 Grey Ave. for two years with his wife and two small children, also says he was dissatisfied with the response he received when he asked Open Communities, the non-profit hired by the city to administer the landlord-tenant ordinance, to intervene on his behalf.
Asked by email this morning about Theodore’s claims, Murray did not respond to questions about the notice provided for non-renewal of the lease or the security deposit but instead claimed neighbors told her that Theodore and his wife had been operating “an illegal hair salon in my basement.”