Former Celtics F Antoine Walker made the papers this summer after being charged with passing bad checks in an attempt to pay gambling debts. Sadly, that’s a slightly more pleasant portrait of ‘Toine compared to the following story by the Chicago Tribune’s Antonio Olivio, who reports Walker’s real estate companies — Walker Ventures LLC and AW Reality LLC — have been sued and fined repeatedly over poor management of their buildings. “As (Chicago native) Walker carved a path of luxurious living from Chicago to Miami to Las Vegas, running up millions of dollars in debts to banks, casinos and at least one agent,” writes Olivio, “the company bearing his name was leaving scars on the poor, urban landscape of his youth.” (link courtesy Hot Shit College Student)
On Cornell Avenue, a 13-unit building developed a mold problem so bad that a 7-month-old boy repeatedly woke up coughing, a tenant lawsuit says. The toxic fumes and a lack of heat drove all the tenants to abandon the building, which the city declared “a hulking public nuisance” before Walker Ventures eventually lost it in a bank foreclosure.
On Minerva Avenue, another Walker Ventures building suffers from spotty electricity and a mouse and roach infestation that resulted in its failing several inspections tied to federal rent subsidies, government records show. Shoddy conditions and a problem with squatters drove most tenants away, and this month a team of city inspectors and police found several code violations, city officials said.
In Country Club Hills, raw sewage leaked from bad pipes inside a condominium owned by Walker’s AW Realty and managed by his mother, Diane Walker, according to a Cook County lawsuit that described how the leak destroyed the unit below.
“This is your property and you’re supposed to be somebody?” demanded Kywanna Leftridge, 29, who lost most of her belongings and had to move temporarily into a homeless shelter with her son, 13, after her apartment in the Prairie Avenue building flooded. “It was horrible.”
Walker appeared ready to take his lumps when contract by the Tribune (“I would like to humbly apologize to everyone who has been affected by the failings of my company,”), though it would be very unfortunate if he’s the only figure in the hoops world to suffer extreme embarrassment from his landlord biz.