Chicagoland Property Group’s (“CPG”) Stephen Seitz had 706 repetitive apartment ads at Craigslist yesterday, a third-place tally at the firm we’ve called Craiglist’s worst apartment ad spammer. CPG currently has about 7,000 apartment ads at Craigslist. Type the following in your Craigslist search, and you’ll be spared having to see CPG ads: – “Chicagoland Property Group”
Seitz’ third-place rank among the prolific spammers at CPG is impressive, given his rookie status. His leasing agent license sponsorship by CPG is less than a month old. He operated under a 120-day student license beginning last September.
Seitz has quickly settled into CPG’s practice of advertising properties without the written authorization that the Illinois Real Estate License Act (the “Act”) requires. It didn’t take long for us to identify 99 Craigslist ads for five properties which have not given CPG permission to advertise.
For a novice, Seitz has become adept at the bait-and-switch advertising practiced by CPG leasing manager Jon Zolecki. Seitz ads for the five properties we documented either materially understated rents for available units or advertised unit types that were not available. Do Zolecki’s eyes sparkle when he sees a newbie so diligently following his example?
Collin Walker, the firm’s managing broker, has a responsibility under the Act to supervise the firm’s advertising practices, and risks suspension of revocation of his license for failing to do so if he has knowledge. There can be no doubt that he does, since CPG’s bait-and-switch illegal advertising has been extensive for years, and we’ve repeatedly written about it.
We’ve also sent emails to Collin Walker, with links to our posts about his scofflaw mother Joi Walker, his scofflaw brother Kellen Walker, his scofflaw sister Cassi (Walker) Norman, and his scofflaw leasing manager, Jon Zolecki. Joi Walker deleted all 684 of her Craigslist ads after our post, and Kellen Walker deleted 55 of his.
Cleaning up after his mother, brother, sister, Zolecki and Seitz won’t be enough to protect Collin Walker’s managing broker license. We’ll be monitoring the sea of Craigslist spam ads generated by other agents at CPG. And, of course, Collin’s own online behavior. We’ll email links to this post to both Collin Walker and Stephen Seitz.
It’s been our long experience that leasing agents who scoff at any legal or ethical obligation are likely to scoff at all. Renters need to be aware that the only sure way to avoid the risk of 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.
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.