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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

After Two-Year Legal Battle Over Rent, Ald. Ramirez-Rosa Pays Mark Fishman $60K, Records Show

The lawsuit between the longtime adversaries stemmed from a years-old rent dispute over the office the alderman once rented from Fishman.

Foes landlord Mark Fishman (left) and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (right) at a community meeting in 2019.
Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — The bitter legal battle between prominent landlord Mark Fishman and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) is finally over, records show, with the alderman paying Fishman $60,000 to end litigation over the lease for his former ward office.

Cook County court records show Judge Diane M. Shelley issued final approval of the settlement in late March, completing a two-year-long lawsuit centered on Ramirez-Rosa’s office space at 2708-2710 N. Sawyer Ave., which he rented from Fishman.

The settlement amount is not listed in the court documents. Ramirez-Rosa and Fishman both declined to comment on the resolution to the case or disclose what settlement they agreed to.

But Block Club obtained city records of the alderman’s ward expenses, which show two separate payments to a limited liability corporation owned by Fishman’s real estate company. The alderman paid $50,000 to the LLC in December, and then just over $10,000 at the end of March.

“The parties had a good faith, genuine dispute over Tenant’s responsibility for the full amount of the rent,” the settlement agreement states.

Longtime foes, Fishman sued Ramirez-Rosa in January 2019, saying the alderman skipped out on the rent. The alderman said at the time Fishman claimed he owed more than $42,000 dating back to late 2015, and accused the landlord of manufacturing the controversy in an effort to “bully and buy him.” When Fishman filed the lawsuit, he alleged the unpaid back rent actually was more than twice that amount — over $96,000.

At issue was whether Ramirez-Rosa had full responsibility for the rent. For several months, Ramirez-Rosa only paid a portion of the rent, thinking Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), who he claimed was added to the lease before Fishman bought the property, would eventually pay his share. Guzzardi did not, and the rent shortfall prompted Fishman to file a lawsuit.

Guzzardi declined to comment on the settlement or the lawsuit Thursday.

The two have feuded since Ramirez-Rosa became 35th Ward alderman in 2015. Ramirez-Rosa has publicly slammed Fishman, one of the area’s most well-known property investors, and painted him as the mascot for gentrification in Logan Square. But Fishman has said that label is unwarranted.

Part of Ramirez-Rosa’s campaign pledge was to not let Fishman have his run at the neighborhood like his predecessor did. Fishman donated around $100,000 to Ramirez-Rosa’s challenger in the 2019 election in an unsuccessful effort to oust his longtime adversary.

As part of the settlement, Ramirez-Rosa said he accepts Fishman’s denial that the lawsuit was intended to “bully and buy him.”

In the agreement, Ramirez-Rosa and Fishman said “they both look forward to working on the issues that face Logan Square, and to do so together where it is possible to find common ground.”

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