A Cook County man is suing over claims he was fraudulently induced into buying downtown units allegedly represented as commercial property even though they were not zoned for such use.

Thomas Edson and Chestnut Investment 1 filed a lawsuit Oct. 14 in Cook County Circuit Court against Kelli A. Fogarty, Dean N. Fugate, Fogarty & Fugate, David Horwich and Prudential Rubloff.

Horwich, a real estate broker for Prudential Rubloff, and Prudential Rubloff are accused of fraud, as well as negligent misrepresentation and violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act while Fogarty, Fugate and Fogarty & Fugate are accused of legal malpractice.

According to the complaint, on Nov. 26, 2012, while looking to purchase investment property in Chicago, Edson received information from Horwich about a property on East Chestnut Street that was presented as commercial property perfect for a business like a grocery store.

Edson claims he made an offer on the property after touring it and finding an interested tenant who owned a grocery store and was also assured by Horwich on the viability of the property as a store. His offer, the suit states, was accepted Dec. 3, 2012.

After his offer was accepted on Dec. 3, 2012, Edson hired Fogarty & Fugate to represent him in the acquisition, and he bought the property for $600,000 on Jan. 29, 2013, according to the complaint.

The prospective grocer tenant failed to go through with the lease that Fogarty & Fugate was preparing for the plaintiff, and it wasn't until Jan. 15 of this year, during lease negotiations with the owner of Club Barks, that Edson learned, from the club's real estate broker, that it could not rent the property because it was zoned "downtown residential."

The complaint states Edson learned, upon further examination, that this allowed only small commercial businesses in residential support services on grade level with residential units above, and his property did not qualify, greatly diminishing its value. Edson says he attempted to get the property rezoned with no success.

Edson is seeking more than $50,000 in damages, costs and attorney fees, and is represented by Chicago attorney Julia D. Mannix.

Cook County Circuit Court case number: 2014L010633.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt and it represents only one side of the story.

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