NEIU’s Communications

NEIU delivered its first communication to impacted property owners on January 15, 2014, over sixty days after NEIU issued a Request for Proposal to secure a private real estate developer to build “University Village,” a “mixed use development adjacent to campus.” – Deliberately vague language was intentionally used so no one, except NEIU and political insiders would know where NEIU planned to build.

Eminent domain and “offer to purchase” notices were then sent via certified mail to the property owners whose land they intend to seize in May 2014 and a notice of “intent to file suit for condemnation” on July 22, 2014 were received by all impacted property owners.  Suit for Condemnation was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County on August 8, 2014.

NEIU public relations statements to the media and the community have attempted to convey that NEIU has made “fair market offers” to the impacted property owners and that the owners have been unreasonable in their resistance to accept the NEIU purchase price offers for their properties.  This is false and misleading rhetoric from NEIU.  Here are the facts:

According to independent, certified appraisals, the offers being made by NEIU are nearly 50% below the fair market value of the impacted properties.  NEIU is issuing statements from their press office that they are committed to paying “fair market value,” but their actual negotiating tactics and compensation offers contradict their communications.  NEIU is trying to steal the 3400 block of Bryn Mawr.  It’s not just a land grab, it’s a land heist!

Sharon Hahs has shown herself to be a ruthless bully in abusing her power to change the character of the neighborhood according to her own vision.  She did not consult area homeowners on St. Louis, Bernard or Bryn Mawr Avenues to provide input or feedback on her plan.  Further, she has shown no empathy whatsoever to the families in the 3400 block of Bryn Mawr whom she is trying to emotionally and financially devastate.
Comments made by NEIU General Counsel, Melissa  Reardon Henry on WTTW Chicago Tonight:

“Part of our role as a steward of place as a public institution is to enhance the community where we live,” Melissa Reardon Henry, General Counsel for NEIU said. “So the university looked at the development on Bryn Mawr as an effort to enhance the community while offering our students a residential life component.

Comments:  The primary role of NEIU and any University is to educate, not enhance the community.  The idea of enhancing a community through seizing the land of adjacent home and business owners is ridiculous.

“We didn't expect that the property owners would accept the initial offering from the university, although it is the fair market value in accordance with our appraisal. We did expect them to come to the table and have a conversation with us about what their appraiser assessed the fair market value to be,” Henry said. “We are optimistic that the negotiations that we’ve undertaken will come to fruition with at least some of the owners.”

Through this comment, NEIU effectively admits that their offers to the property owners are really low and they are attempting to make this look as though it is the fault of the property owners. The fact is that a negotiation is a conversation, NOT a one-way send of legal correspondence, followed by a lawsuit for condemnation.  To date, no real “negotiation” has ever been offered by NEIU.