State slaps $10K and $25K fines on Chicago rental agents

by Joe Zekas on 12/18/12

The most recent summary of disciplinary actions (pdf) from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) includes the following:

Eric Bolf, Chicago – real estate leasing agent license (473-010214) indefinitely suspended for a minimum of one year and fined $10,000 for advertising real estate property while his license was in an inoperative status.

Jo Anne Jones, Chicago – real estate broker license (475-104466) revoked and fined $25,000 for brokering real estate rental agreements without holding a valid license.

We’re heartened to see the State levying some serious fines against unlicensed rental agents. A recent tipster opined that “the state doesn’t ever do anything” to address the behavior of rental agents, and I’ve long complained to that effect. Perhaps the state’s dire financial condition will finally result in stepped-up enforcement. As part of our Craigslist Apartment Cleanup campaign, we’ve provided a link to an online form for reporting illegal advertising on Craigslist. If you see an illegal ad, file a complaint and help close the state’s budget gap. Help clean up Craigslist by liking the Craigslist Apartment Cleanup page.

My tipster suggested taking a look at the licensing status of Arnell Cordero, who’s running multiple ads at Craigslist offering rental finding services.

The IDFPR license lookup returns no results for Arnell Cordero. His Craigslist ads do not, as required by law, include the name of a licensed brokerage firm, but they do link to the following site (screen cap):

Blue City Chicago Apartments, Inc. d/b/a Blue City Chicago Properties is in good standing as an Illinois corporation. According to the IDFPR site the firm’s brokerage license was originally issued on 4/22/2011, expired 10/31/12, and was not renewed.

Cordero’s Facebook page still identifies him as the Leasing Director of Group Fox, although my tipster indicates he’s moved on from there.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike December 19, 2012 at 1:08 AM

Keep up the great work on this topic Joe. Craigslist is of no use when these bedbugs are spamming up the legitimate listings. Go after the rental agencies that spam the crap out of the major rental buildings and condos.

Reply

Barbara Fox January 12, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Always check to see who you are making an appointment with. You can see the license status online here: https://www.idfpr.com/licenselookup/licenselookup.asp

Check Real Estate Broker and Real Estate Leasing Agent, or in are cases, Real Estate Managing Broker. If the name does not show up, this is not a licensed professional. If they tell you they have a 120-day license pass. Plenty of legitimate people out there willing to serve.

If you got into an accident in their car, do they have insurance? Do they have oversight? Can you take legal action against them? These are bog reasons to work with a properly licensed professional.

Would you work with an unlicensed Lawyer? Doctor? Investment Broker? Insurance Agent?

Reply

Joe Zekas January 12, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Good advice, Barbara.

I go a bit further and ask that renters also ask to see the agent’s driver’s license and compare it with the agent sponsor card / pocket card / permit app. The names don’t always match.

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Barbara Fox January 14, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Joe, this person you highlight has been active for 7 months according to LinkedIn and has no listing with IDFPR. This means any 120 day permit is expired. How is this broker allowed to stay in business with agents this blatant? This is cause for immediate dismissal at any brokerage.

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Joe Zekas January 14, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Barbara,

I contacted Arnell Cordero at 2:30 on 12/30/12 by phone. He told me he had completed his classes, was “on a 45-day sponsor card” and “everything has been mailed in” for his broker’s license. Slow mail and slow database updating?

I just checked and there is still no record of him at IDFPR. Blue City Chicago Apartments has renewed its corporate broker’s license.

Reply

Mendel Jakobson January 29, 2013 at 8:23 PM

Reviewing these posts. This guy STILL not licensed. Our industry has gone down the crapper. What imbecile operates this way with no fear of consequence? The Bankers and the Realtors. Great. Just great.

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Joe Zekas January 30, 2013 at 11:49 AM

As of today the IDFPR database shows Cordero as a licensed broker.

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Shannon February 14, 2013 at 7:52 PM

I feel his pain. I’ve been waiting for my clinical license for a month, even though the site says it’s “issued.” IDFPR does not answer phones- there’s a recording stating that the “call volume is high,” then it hangs up on you. You can contact them via email on the website, but I haven’t gotten a reply. With my license in limbo, I can’t practice either, and it’s on IDFPR. I hear it’s worse with physicians and nurses. My license is in clinical social work, and this delay between processing and mailing is unacceptable.

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