Little Village Discount Mall vendors' bid to prevent eviction denied by Cook County judge

Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez says new deal with management stays evictions until at least Tuesday

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Saturday, March 25, 2023
Judge denies request to halt Little Village Discount Mall evictions
A Cook County judge denied an emergency injunction filed by Little Village Discount Mall vendors to halt their evictions, but Ald. Sigcho-Lopez said he's brokered a temporary deal.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Cook County judge denied a request for an emergency injunction Friday made by vendors at the Little Village Discount Mall who now face imminent eviction.

Little Village Discount Mall vendors said the mall is a cultural anchor for the community and inside are hard-working small business owners, some of whom have been there for decades.

Forty of the mall's vendors were originally told to leave by the end of the week after the mall's owner, Novak Construction, was unable to extend a lease with one of the mall's two operators.

RELATED: Little Village Discount Mall vendors worry about its future as developer plans improvements

In that instance, a Cook County judge issued a 10-day order so tenants didn't have to vacate.

But on Friday, the judge denied the request for an emergency injunction filed by the vendors' attorney that would prevent them from being locked out.

"Heartbroken, of course. Been here for 30 years. We were hoping for that extension to keep going," said vendor Khodr Kaddoura.

Affected vendors had until Sunday to move their things out or anything that's left behind could be placed into storage at the vendor's expense, but Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez announced he had reached an agreement with new management to allow the vendors to stay at the mall until at least Tuesday until another location is found.

While some vendors packed their belongings into U-Haul trucks Friday, Sigcho-Lopez said during this extension the city will work to negotiate with Novak Construction for an easier transition to a new location for vendors.

Right now the city is eyeing a spot at 26th and Pulaski, and another location that the alderman could not disclose as the negotiations are ongoing.

"There is, at least, one location on 26th and Pulaski that the city is already working to accommodate and condition for the vendors. But, there's also another location that we are considering, as well," he said.

Sigcho-Lopez said he is hoping to reach an agreement with the new management to have vendors remain at the mall for the next 10 weeks as they transition to their next location.

In the meantime, some customers are in disarray while vendors remain in limbo.

"Now, I have to find somebody else to make my shirts and to make my cards," said customer Gabriel Gomes.

"It was hard after COVID, but thank God we recovered. And, now we're just picking back up, and here comes this. We're back to zero," said Kaddoura.

The mall was purchased by Novak Construction in 2020 to make improvements to the property, including new facades, roofing, infrastructure and parking upgrades.

In response to the judge's ruling, a spokesperson for Novak Construction said the company does not have any comments at the moment.