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East Lakeview Condo Owners Sue Over Neighbor’s Stinky Cats

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Surf Street

Surf Street at Pine Grove Avenue in East Lakeview. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — An East Lakeview neighborhood couple is raising a stink about their neighbor because of her 20 cats.

Johanna Torres and Matthew Greenberg filed the lawsuit Monday in Cook County Circuit Court. They live in the Commodore-Green Brier Landmark complex – a pair of turn-of-the-last century condo buildings located on either side of Surf Street at Broadway.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

While the stately old condo buildings are described by realtors as the grand dames of East Lakeview, Torres and Greenberg say they can’t even sell their condo in one of the buildings because of their neighbor.

Greenberg and Torres have lived in the Commodore-Green Brier complex since 2003, the suit says. In 2008, a downstairs neighbor moved in and started keeping approximately 20 cats in her one-bedroom apartment, permeating the building’s common areas and vents with pet odors.

The couple has already spent thousands of dollars to clean and replace their belongings, because they have become saturated with the stench of cat urine and feces. But the stubborn smell remains, they claim.

Greenberg and Torres want to move, but the cat odors have made their unit “impossible to sell,” on top of triggering Torres’ severe cat allergies, they allege.

The suit seeks an injunction preventing the woman from having any cats in her condo, and asks her to pay to replace the ventilation system and ducts between the two units.

The couple is also seeking reimbursement for money they spent cleaning and replacing their belongings.

The couple includes 10 board members and a former property manager in the suit, claiming the board failed to intervene as required by the buildings’ rules, even after they complained about the situation multiple times.

The suit claims breach of fiduciary duty against the condominium officials, and seeks an unspecified amount in punitive damages.

The Green Brier is located at 550-568 W. Surf St., the Commodore at 559-561 W. Surf St. Cats and dogs are both permitted in both buildings.

A message left with the building’s current property manager was not returned Monday night.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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