MARKHAM | The holding company that owns the Lincoln Mall shopping center in Matteson has not provided the $100,000 to cover the cost of repairs deemed necessary to maintain the structure’s safety.
Judge Thomas Condon issued an order Sept. 6 that required Lincoln Mall Holding LLC to produce $100,000, in addition to a previously provided $100,000 payment. At that time, it was expected the money would be produced in about two weeks.
But as of Friday, it had not yet been deposited into a special account in which a court-appointed receiver could have accessed it to pay for repairs to the shopping mall.
John Kennedy, an attorney representing Matteson, said the lack of funds was delaying efforts to build new fire exits that would make the mall safer in the event of an emergency. He described the repair process in recent weeks as moving along “like a herd of turtles.”
Kennedy said during a hearing in Condon’s courtroom there could be penalties to the holding company if it refuses to produce the funds. Although, he said he was willing to wait until the next scheduled court hearing Oct. 24 before asking Condon to consider taking punitive actions.
Michael Aschenbrenner, an attorney for Lincoln Mall Holding, said the mall’s owners had not provided the money because they don’t have it, but said Friday they were still working to come up with it.
When Condon asked Aschenbrenner if the mall owner “anticipates” coming up with the money, Aschenbrenner responded, “Yes, your honor.”
After the court hearing, Aschenbrenner told The Times that by the Oct. 24 court hearing, “We will either comply, or it will otherwise be resolved.”
Aschenbrenner reiterated his previously expressed belief that the mall owner does not have the money because the mall is not generating enough income.
That is a claim supported by Kennedy, who on Friday said the rent being paid by the mall’s roughly 45 tenants barely covers operating expenses and does not even come close to paying for the repairs needed.
“Right now, the mall can limp along on its current cash flow, absent any critical expenses that suddenly appear,” Kennedy said. “There is no money right now for phase two,” of the renovations — in which emergency exits are cut in the upper level to improve escape paths from the mall in the event of an emergency.
“That $100,000 (payment) will be very important,” Kennedy said.