A closer look at an iMove Chicago broker

iMove Chicago is one of the companies on the dirtiest dozen apartment finders list we’re publishing as part of our Craigslist Apartment Cleanup campaign.

A month ago, on December 23, I notified iMove Chicago by email that, in violation of Illinois law, it was advertising a property on Craigslist that specifically banned rental service advertising.

Rusty Payton, a broker who is apparently one of the firm’s founders, responded the same day on behalf of iMove:

I cannot speak to what agreement the owner may have signed with other firms or what the terms of that agreement may be. Our firm markets no listing without a signed listing agreement or clear permission from the owner or property manager.

In a responsive email, I informed Payton that the property had advised me, and publicly announced via our site, that NO rental services were allowed to advertise. Payton’s same-day response:

As I said, if the owner/manager made a recent change, I am not aware of it. When their offices open, we will either confirm our agreement or remove any listing we are not authorized to market.

iMove Chicago has continued to advertise the property on Craigslist multiple times a day, to this day, since that exchange – without the written authorization required by Illinois law. One of iMove’s current ads is for an $1,820 a month 1-bedroom at the property. The only 1-bedroom listed for rent at the property’s website is available for occupancy March 5 for $2,185.

Payton is a licensed attorney who has a history that should be of keen interest to any renter or landlord considering a contact with iMove Chicago.

In May of 2007 Payton was censured by the Illinois Supreme Court for lying to a client about the reason for denial of a property tax appeal filing. You can read the details – which include faxing an altered document to the client – by searching Rusty Payton’s name at the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, clicking on his name in the search results, then clicking on the Rules and Decisions link.

Payton has been a named defendant in multiple lawsuits, including foreclosures and evictions, in the Circuit Court of Cook County. These have been tough economic times, and many honorable business people have been sued repeatedly, so don’t read too much into the bare facts of lawsuits having been filed.

Earlier this month, Payton filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition with the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Some people might summarize that record as belonging to a deadbeat bankrupt liar, but I’m too aware of the vicissitudes of life to be that harsh. I’d have no hesitation, however, about wondering why any renter or landlord would do business with iMove Chicago.

NOTE: At the margins YoChicago competes with rental services for landlord marketing dollars, so we have a financial stake in keeping the competition honest. Make whatever you will of that.

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