Thursday, March 19, 2009

How To Research a Developer

The March 19 edition of Skyline, a Chicago Journal publication, offers valuable tips to those who want to learn about the developer of a new condo. Excerpts:

Developers like to set up separate business entities for each project, typically a limited-liability company. If you know the name of an LLC constructing something in your neighborhood - but you don't know the person's name, which happens all too often - you can find out by going to the Illinois Secretary of State's Web site at

Click on "Business Services/UCC online filings." Then click on "Corporate/LLC Search/Certificate of Good Standing." In the search box, enter any part of the LLC name with an asterisk. A link to the name you are looking for should come up on another screen, and clicking it will show you a basic name and address.

As Skyline notes, you can do many things once you have a name and address:

First, search the Cook County Circuit Court online court docket. Go to, click on "online case info," then "full electronic docket search." At the docket search screen, you can search by defendant name in all divisions of the circuit court. This can yield valuable information about your person's working history, and be sure to check every division. This site can also, by way of co-defendant, help you learn of other entity names with which your person is involved.

Finally, go to the Illinois State Board of Elections at Click on "contributions search." You can search by name, address and, yes, entity.

Use all of these options and you'll be amazed by how much information you can glean.

On YoChicago, owner Joe Zekas adds this valuable suggestion: "At any development you visit with more than six units, ask for a copy of the city-mandated Property Report. The ordinance pursuant to which the report is required mandates disclosure of the developers names."

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