Under most circumstances a son can’t be held responsible for his mom’s behavior.
He can be, however, if he’s the sponsoring or managing broker at a Chicago rental service where his mom’s an agent and he fails to rein in his mom’s scofflaw behavior after having knowledge of it.
The son we’re talking about is Chicagoland Property Group’s (“CPG”) Collin Walker. His mom, Joi Walker, is a licensed leasing agent that he apparently recruited into the firm along with his brother Kellen. We’ve come to think of the trio as the spam-family Walker and have written about them several times in the past few years. We’ve previously identified CPG as Craiglist’s worst Chicago apartment ad spammer.
As of yesterday evening, Joi Walker had 654 repetitive ads at Craigslist. Sampling a small number of them surfaced ads for half a dozen properties that have not given CPG the written authorization to advertise that the Illinois Real Estate License Act (“Act”) requires. A number of the ads we checked were unavailable at the time or for the amount of rent specified in the ad. One ad quoted a 1-bedroom as available for over $600 less than the lowest-priced 1-bedroom listed on the property’s near real-time website.
We have no doubt that Collin Walker is well aware of his mom’s violations of the Act. We have no doubt that Joi Walker is aware that she’s violating the Act, since we called both her and her husband some time back to advise them that she was advertising properties without authority.
We’ve saved screen caps of the illegal ads we sampled yesterday. We will send a link to this post to Collin Walker later today. We will document additional violations periodically as they occur.
If Collin Walker doesn’t either make his mom cease and desist, or fire her, we’ll consider that an abdication of the duty to supervise that the Act imposes on managing brokers, and we’ll file a heavily-documented complaint with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s Division of Real Estate. The documentation will hopefully be sufficient to result in the revocation of Collin Walker’s license.
Cleaning up after his mom won’t be enough to protect Collin’s license. We’ll be monitoring Kellen Walker’s behavior also, and that of other agents at CPG. And, of course, Collin’s own behavior. We didn’t go beyond looking at Joi’s ads yesterday, but we’ve long noted ads from Collin, Kellen and other CPG agents for properties that don’t allow advertising.
Managing brokers at Chicago rental services need to be aware that we won’t be focusing all of our attention on Collin Walker / CPG. We’re documenting the abuses of agents in other firms and will be making their managing brokers aware of them and monitoring their subsequent behavior.
Renters need to be aware that the only sure way to avoid falling victim to a scofflaw rental service leasing agent is to avoid all Chicago rental services and work directly with properties. YoChicago’s apartment reviews and lists make it easy for you to find an apartment in sought-after lakefront neighborhoods.
Update 3/11: All Craigslist ads with the name Joi Walker in them have been deleted.