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Wrigley rooftops closer to resolving foreclosure suit

A judge dismissed a federal lawsuit against three Wrigley rooftop businesses facing foreclosure, bringing another rooftop legal battle closer to a resolution.

lRelated Wrigley Field improvements don't look as good from the rooftops
Chicago CubsWrigley Field improvements don’t look as good from the rooftopsSee all related

Federal judge lets Wrigley upgrades continue, denies rooftop firms' motion

In November, Fifth Third Bank sued the rooftop operations at 3617, 3619 and 3637 N. Sheffield Ave. and their owners, alleging the businesses owed more than $18 million on mortgages and missed payments. The bank later sold a portion of the debt to Sheffield Finance, an entity owned by Jerry Lasky and Murray Peretz, partners in a Chicago commercial real estate business, which replaced the bank as plaintiffs in the case.

On Wednesday, Lasky declined comment.

Judge Joan Gottschall approved the request for dismissal on Tuesday by Sheffield Finance, which reserves the right to reintroduce foreclosure proceedings if an agreement can’t be worked out between the rooftops and Sheffield Finance. The firm said in its filing that it is not waiving any of the defaults.

The rooftop businesses’ majority owner, Tom Gramatis, settled with the bank this year. Minority owners Dan Finkel and Max Waisvisz and their attorneys could not be reached.

Similar to the other rooftop businesses lining Waveland and Sheffield avenues, the three on Sheffield charge admission for bird’s-eye views of Cubs games.

The team continues its much-delayed $375 million overhaul of the 101-year-old stadium. While the 3,990-square-foot left-field video board was ready for the Cubs’ home opener, the left-field bleachers won’t reopen until May and the right-field bleachers remain closed until June. Many owners of the rooftops surrounding the historic ballpark have said the Cubs’ outfield wall signs and video boards would block their views into the ballpark and put them out of business.

A federal lawsuit against the Cubs brought by the controlling owner of Skybox on Sheffield and Lakeview Baseball Club accused the team of violating the terms of the revenue-sharing agreement; that suit is pending. The judge has rejected those businesses’ requests to stop installation of the team’s 2,250-square-foot right-field video board.

Those same rooftops, controlled by commodities trader Edward McCarthy, recently pulled their lawsuit against the city of Chicago and the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. That suit alleged that approval for the signs and video board violated an ordinance protecting Wrigley Field’s historic features.

jahopkins@tribune.com

Twitter @jaredshopkins

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

Article source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/ct-rooftop-foreclosure-dismissal-20150429-story.html

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