CHICAGO (CBS) — Homeless since July, a South Side mother said she is so sick, she can’t even sleep in her own bed. Latrice Montgomery blames well-known developer Related Midwest for her illness.
“They need to be responsible for what they are putting me and my family through,” she said.
The Morning Insiders get to the bottom of her battle. CBS 2’s Lauren Victory takes the woman’s fight for answers to the corporate level.
“I got arthritis. My body breaks down. I can barely walk,” Montgomery said.
She is tired of being sick, and sick of being tired. For the past few weeks, she’s slept on the floor at a friend’s place, rather than her own bed.
Related Midwest, a giant multi-award winning development company, owns the affordable housing complex Universal City, where Montgomery lives.
Montgomery’s home is currently undergoing emergency repairs.
“I knew something was wrong, but all this time I was thinking I was having side effects from all my medications,” she said.
Instead, it was an allergic reaction to mold, she said; convinced after a horrifying discovery in July.
“As I’m stepping into the kitchen floor, I’m stepping on water; dirty water,” she said. “Opened up the basement door, and the whole ceiling was caved in, and mold was from the floor to the ceiling.”
“My cabinets was wet a third up, with green stains and black stains,” she added.
Related Midwest sent crews to demolish and replace kitchens in three units.
The tenant memo acknowledged “water damage” from a “plumbing leak,” but with exception of a functioning kitchen, indicated each apartment is still livable; no mention of mold.
“I asked them for proof. They said there’s no mold in my apartment,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery still doesn’t believe them, and is upset with a temporary relocation offer she ultimately signed, providing her $2,400 in American Express gift cards; money to vacate the premises for two weeks, though she’ll have been away from home for six.
“When stuff like this happens, they’re supposed to look out for you. They’re not supposed to leave families out there like this. I shouldn’t have to sleep on the floor,” she said.
A Related Midwest representative at Universal City declined to comment on what was going on, providing a contact number for the company. While CBS 2 reached out to Related Midwest, Montgomery took matters into her own hands.
“The money they gave me to sleep with, I paid the mold people myself,” she said.
Her results came back with a warning, saying the mold tests results in her kitchen were “extremely high.”
“That unit is not healthy for anyone,” MoldPro told her.
Montgomery was saddened but not shocked, because she’s lived with mold before in the same complex.
“I need help,” She said.
A spokesperson for Related Midwest said the company did its best to accommodate Montgomery, including providing her two hotel options, but they said she rejected those offers. They also accused Montgomery of refusing to allow them access to her apartment for remediation, and of interfering with contractors making repairs:
“As soon as we were made aware of a leak in the storage room, we responded swiftly with remediation of the water damage and retained a contractor to fully assess damage in all of the adjacent apartments,” Related Midwest said. “We immediately provided all affected residents with the option of hotel relocation, or a stipend. Our contractor conducts a mold test for all affected apartments upon completion of remediation and before any resident resumes occupancy of their apartment.
“As previously discussed, we have not been able to complete work and the subsequent mold test because the tenant refused access to her apartment. We look forward to resolving this imminently so that she can return home.”