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The dark side of a Chicago power couple

CHICAGO (CBS) — After a months-long CBS 2 investigation into Candace Clark — accused, among other things, of living in high-end housing without paying rent — we got a tip about a power couple also living in high-end condos without paying rent.

CBS 2 investigator Dorothy Tucker began digging and found a background mixed with work accomplishments and legal issues.

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When the well-dressed and handsome couple wanted to rent a West Loop luxury condo in December, landlord Andrew didn’t hesitate to give them a lease.

“They painted an image of success and looked like people who would have no problem paying the rent,” he said.

serial squatter

Remember accused serial squatter Candace Clark? If you thought she had a crazy story, wait until you see this one. Tonight at 10:00 p.m., we’re going to expose the hidden life of one of Chicago’s hottest couples.

Posted by Dorothy Tucker on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Jim and Lisa Levin, listed as tenants, agreed to pay the monthly rent of $4,500 and promised to pay the nine months upfront, in cash. They never did.

“It was story after story and we finally had enough. We finally filed the eviction,” Andrew said.

A photo, taken on March 13, captured the moment Jim Levin was slapped with a summons to appear in deportation court. But the same day, during his daily press briefing, Governor JB Pritzker said, “Last hour the President announced a national emergency.”

This emergency was in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Pritzker would eventually announce a statewide shutdown. Courts were included.

“The timing was particularly unfortunate,” Andrew said.

Just days after kicking the Levins out of his home, all evictions were reversed. For Andrew, that meant losing $20,000.

“My wife and I have just started a family. We have two children under the age of 2. To add this to what is already quite a big change in our lives, both personally and financially, is really difficult,” said he declared.

RELATED: Evictions Could Be Delayed For Months As Tenants Struggle To Stay Up During Coronavirus Pandemic | Cook County suspends jail visits and court-ordered evictions due to coronavirus concerns | Illinois state law makes it difficult for landlords to evict squatters

Jim Levin, the man accused of squatting Andrew’s house, has a distinguished and checkered past.

In 1986, when he was just 26, Jim Levin teamed up with Italian designer Gianni Versace and opened a high-end boutique on Oak Street. He sold it in 1990.

He was the president of Tru-Link Fence, a legendary company inherited from his father and famous for its advertisements during Cubs games.

Levin was a co-owner of a gentlemen’s club and a fundraiser for former President Bill Clinton. Lawyer Ariel Weissberg was an acquaintance from Levin’s time.

“Mr. Levin was a very visible, well-rounded guy. He was basically known for having a good time at a high level of spending,” Weissberg said.

But the good times started to fade. In 2001 Levin’s family sold Tru-Link Fence, but a few years later Levin was charged with fraud in connection with Tru-Link. The company has been accused of winning nearly $2.7 million in contracts from Chicago public schools because women or minorities “would do a certain percentage of the work.”

Levin eventually pleaded guilty to mail fraud, received probation, and was fined $200,000.

It is not known whether he ever repaid the money.

“I think there should be a warning on him – don’t trust this guy,” said Paul Zimmer.

It’s a lesson he learned the expensive way. A few years after the CPS scandal, Zimmer rented his $1.5 million condo to Levin for $8,500 a month.

Why did Zimmer trust Levin?

“He gave me a lot of money up front. He gave me $50,000. I was in a bad spot, so I took it,” Zimmer said.

That covered the first six months’ rent, but Levin lived in the condo for another year without paying a penny in rent. There were also other consequences.

“I had to short sell the place he was renting because I couldn’t do the mortgage anymore,” Zimmer said.

Zimmer sold his condo for $700,000 less than its estimated value.

“It crushed me,” Zimmer said.

And do you remember Ariel Weissberg?

Jim Levin’s old acquaintance sues Levin and his wife Lisa. He represents the owner of a four-bedroom condo on Monroe Street. Weissberg’s client rented from Levin in 2017. Instead of paying the $7,000 monthly rent, Levin sent a series of bounced checks.

Weissberg obtained a judgment against Lisa Levin to garnish her wages to collect the debt.

“She has less background than Mr. Levin but she is still involved in a number of cases,” Weissberg said.

CBS 2 investigators uncovered nine eviction cases involving Jim Levin or Levin and his wife dating back to 2009. The landlords were cheated out of $281,543 in unpaid rent. Combine these judgments with other losses suffered by the owners and the total comes to over $1 million – $1,027,793.

“While I understand the federal ban on evictions came from a good-natured place, it allows scammers like this to take advantage of it even more and reach new heights with what they are capable of. to do and get away with it,” says André.

We called, texted, emailed and even knocked on the couple’s door to give them a chance to respond.

They never communicated directly with us.

Andrew’s attorney sent us a letter saying the Levins had moved out. Andrew was satisfied and no longer wants to be involved in the story.


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