A senior citizen is suing his landlord and a group of residents in a North Side senior housing development heavily populated by other elderly Korean-Americans, claiming they conspired to falsely accuse him of attacking a female neighbor and worked to illegally kick him out of his apartment.
Won Suk Chin, 73, filed suit July 8 in Cook County Circuit Court against the Washington D.C.-based Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corp., which owns and operates the Senate Apartments on North Pulaski Road in Chicago where he leased an apartment.
The plaintiff, who is referred to as Won throughout the complaint, is also suing Karen Simmons, Senate Apartments' community manager, and four of his neighbors: Young Duk Jun, Chong Sul Lee, Yun Jun Kim and Hu Son Park.
Won is requesting more than $600,000 in damages in his 11-count suit that alleges defamation, battery and wrongful eviction in violation of Chicago city ordinance and Illinois law, among other counts.
The case arises in the wake of a chain of events that Won claims left him living with his daughter while his 66-year-old wife remained in the apartment they had leased since 2006 in Chicago’s Hollywood Park neighborhood.
According to the suit, Won's troubles began on Feb. 15 at a party sponsored by the Korean-American senior citizens organization, which organizes events for the more than 200 Korean-American senior citizens living in the Senate Apartments.
Won asserts he invited a female friend and her friend to the “social event on that date," and after driving them to the event, later learned that organizers told them to leave because the gathering was for residents only.
The next day, the suit states Won came across a group of his neighbors, including defendant Park, who apparently attended church and knew Won since 2006.
Won claims he sat down and chatted with his neighbors, eventually sharing the events of the previous evening with them.
At that point, Park, according to the suit, told him to “shut up” and asked “Why would you invite non-residents to the party?”
Won allegedly accused Park of having a “foul mouth.” In response, Park “suddenly stood up, approached Won and repeatedly struck him on or about his chest with her closed fists,” the suit states, noting that the incident prompted a security guard to separate them.
Won then left the area and contends that Park, aided by Lee, Jun and Simmons, reported to Chicago Police that he had assaulted her and fled. Police investigated, but never pressed charges, according to this complaint.
In the weeks that followed, however, Won claims the group went door-to-door in the apartment complex, telling neighbors Won had assaulted Park, and collected signatures on a petition demanding that he be evicted.
Eventually, the suit states, Simmons confronted Won, and presented him with an ultimatum: If he agreed to move out by May 9, his wife would be allowed to remain the apartment, but if he refused, he and his wife would both be evicted.
He initially refused to agree to those terms, but ultimately relented on May 9, when he left Senate Apartments. The suit states he is now living with his daughter's family.
In his suit, Won asserts the defendants damaged his reputation and placed him in a false light to the public. Among other claims alleged in his suit, he contends he was the victim of a wrongfully eviction and has been deprived of a relationship with his wife as a result of the defendants' actions.
Each of his complaint's 11 counts seeks $60,000 in damages. The count accusing Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corp. and Simmons of violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act also asks for an award of punitive damages, attorney's fees and costs.
Won is being represented in the action by Buffalo Grove attorney Samuel S. Shim. Court records show that no attorneys have entered their appearance in the case on behalf of the defendants.
The above photo was found on the website of Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corp.