487 Broadway in Gary

Calumet Township Trustee faces after sale property damage lawsuit

Contributed By:The 411 News

487 Broadway owners say trustee removed fixtures after building was sold

A lawsuit claiming that the Calumet Township Trustee and its employees damaged a property after the township sold it has been filed by the current owners of the office building at 487 Broadway, in Gary.

Known as the Calumet Township Trustee Annex, the 3-story building at 5th Avenue and Broadway contains 22 office rental suites.

Atty. Macarthur Drake, representing The 487 Broadway Company LLC, said the new owners purchased the property in November 2016 from the township trustee. The sale price of $72,100 was paid Nov. 17, 2016.

Within days of making full payment for the property, Atty. Drake said township employees removed fixtures from the exterior and interior of 487 Broadway.

Named in the lawsuit are Calumet Township Trustee Kimberly Robinson and township employee Carol Ann Seaton, as authorizing township employees to remove the large electric signs attached to the building’s exterior, on December 9, 2016.

The defendants “caused their employees to tear down and remove large, electrically lighted signs, which were building fixtures securely affixed to the outside walls of the building,” the complaint said, “causing the building to look vandalized, vacated and blighted.” The damage caused the owners not to be able to rent or attract renters, Atty. Drake said.

Following the removal of the signs, historical pictures and artifacts attached to the interior walls “were appropriated, removed and/or converted by the defendants,” the complaint said.

“The law is fixtures run with the land, or go with the land purchase,” Atty. Drake said. “A seller or a seller's agent's removal of fixtures from a building after the sale, the contract to sell, or the purchase of that building subjects that seller and the agent to a lawsuit, and the payment of money damages to the LLC.”

When Trustee Robinson received a notice of claim for the damages, indicating the LLC could follow up with a lawsuit, township employees returned the electrical signs and tried to install them. “But they were not electrical sign installers. The concrete cores and screws had been damaged. The signs now sit in storage since they couldn’t be attached securely to the building,” Atty. Drake said.

A quote of $10,000 from Chesterton’s Landmark Signs to repair and install the signs was included with the notice of claim. That was December 2016. “We’ve waited long enough for Trustee Robinson to respond; now we’re going ahead with this lawsuit,” the attorney said.

The lawsuit is asking for a $250,000 judgment against the township.

Story Posted:12/31/2018

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