ROGERS PARK — Astor House tenant Melvin Jennings is moving home to Memphis, Tenn., he said Monday.
The 58-year-old security guard said he settled an eviction case Thursday with landlord BJB Properties to pay $2,500 of $7,700 in unpaid rent and would be moving home to take care of his mom after a monthslong legal battle.
"They’re lucky I don’t sue 'em," said Jennings, who with other tenants has been fighting BJB since late last year when the company bought the building at 1246 W. Pratt Blvd. "I want a class-action lawsuit."
Jennings' attorney, Victoria Ogunsanya with the Lawyers' Committee for Better Housing, said the settlement reached wasn't "especially favorable" for the Astor House tenants because BJB didn't agree to provide financial assistance to help Jennings and the other mostly low-income residents move to new housing.
Ogunsanya said Jennings' eviction would be expunged from his official record in the settlement.
BJB Properties' attorney Cary Schiff didn't respond to a request for comment.
Opponents have been protesting since March BJB's apparent plan to renovate the troubled building — which has long suffered from bed bugs, busted elevators and other building code violations — and raise rents.
In April, a bus full of protesters marched outside BJB principal Jamie Purcell's Park Ridge home.
Moore said at the time that the tenants' demands were unreasonable, and he was "more than willing to advocate on behalf of any tenant who has a legitimate complaint."
Now, Jennings said, there are only a few tenants from prior ownership left in the Astor House, and most had moved away.
He said he'd pack up and leave for Memphis by the end of the month.