Chicagoland Property Group makes Craigslist spam a family affair

by Joe Zekas on 4/3/14

We recently spotlighted Chicagoland Property Group’s Collin Walker as one of Craigslist’s worst apartment ad spammers. We also added a business listing for the company at Yelp, knowing we’d be amused by the glowing reviews that we suspected would promptly appear, and did. Were the reviews solicited, in violation of Yelp’s Content Guidelines? Do they read like they reflect the experience of actual consumers?

According to the IDFPR license lookup database, Collin Walker has recently been joined at CPG by his brother Kellen, his mom Joi and his dad James. Kellen, Joi and James are working on 120-day leasing agent permits.

We were curious whether Craigslist spam would become a Walker family activity, and we reported some of what we found in a comment on our earlier post.

Kellen and Joi quickly become prolific Craigslist spammers, placing 139 and 111 repetitive ads, respectively, within the past few days.

James has, thus far, limited himself to a single Craigslist ad.

Joi Walker has followed Collin’s lead in advertising properties without the authorization required by the Illinois Real Estate License Act, 225 ILCS 454/20-20 (a) (26). She’s also adopted Collin’s practice of running ads that include copyrighted photos pirated from other websites without apparent regard to the civil and criminal penalties that federal law provides for violations.

A tip for the Walkers: don’t leave traces of watermarks that make it easy to spot your copyright piracy.

I called Joi Walker to ask about 11 ads she had placed yesterday for the same South Loop apartment. After identifying myself, I asked her whether she was aware that Craigslist didn’t allow an ad to be placed more than once every 48 hours. Her response: “I am aware but I don’t have to answer to you.” I didn’t get a chance to ask her about the license law and copyright violations.

Of 922 Walker family ads at Craigslist late yesterday, 545 of them were for the “best” apartments of their kind; 414 were for “huge” apartments; 370 for “amazing” places; 158 were “stunning” and 117 were “incredible.” I’ll buy the “incredible” tag: properties a quarter-mile from the Gold Coast, for example, were advertised as being in the “heart of the Gold Coast.”

Nothing about this behavior surprised me: spamming Craigslist, advertising without authorization and copyright piracy are part of the stock in trade of Chicago’s rental services and have been as long as I’ve been watching them operate.

What astonishes me is how an apparently dutiful son could think he’s helping his family by actively encouraging or passively allowing the ads they’ve placed.

Stay tuned to learn whether the family that spams together continues to spam together.

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