Michael Hawks, scofflaw leasing agent at Chicagoland Property Group

Michael Hawks is the second most prolific ad spammer at Chicagoland Property Group (“CPG”), a firm that we’ve called Craiglist’s worst apartment ad spammer. Hawks accounts for just over 10% of CPG’s insanely repetitive apartment ads at Craigslist. Type the following in your Craigslist search, and you’ll be spared having to see CPG ads: – “Chicagoland Property Group”

A quick scan of Hawks’ ads at Craigslist surfaced nearly 50 for 5 properties from which CPG does not have the written authorization required by the Illinois Real Estate License Act (the “Act”). We documented those ads with screen caps. We saw more illegal ads from Hawks in the course of our scan that we didn’t take the time to document.

Hawks engages in the same bait-and-switch underpricing that we’ve seen in ads from other CPG agents, advertises apartments that are unavailable, misstates property features, and posts pictures from one property in ads for another.

The Act imposes an obligation on Collin Walker, CPG’s managing broker, to supervise advertising by his agents. From everything I can see, Walker appears to be supervising his agents to flaunt the Act’s requirements for truthful advertising authorized in writing by the advertised properties.

In previous posts we’ve written about Walker’s scofflaw mother Joi Walker, his scofflaw brother Kellen Walker, his scofflaw sister Cassi (Walker) Norman, his scofflaw leasing manager, Jon Zolecki and scofflaw agent Stephen Seitz. 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, Seitz and Hawks 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 Michael Hawks.

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.

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