Owner, city’s plans differ

By Mark McGowan

Plans for restoring the DeKalb Center apartment complex to standard living conditions differ between the building’s owner and the city of DeKalb, the possible property managers.

The complex, 1100 W. Lincoln Hwy., has been the center of controversy this week because of structural code violations. The city today filed a petition to assign a property manager for the apartment. The city would begin a receivership and collect rents to be used for building repairs.

DeKalb City Attorney Ronald Matekaitas, who with other city officials met Thursday with building co-owner Joseph Navilio, of Lisle, Ill., said the city plans to file its petition today. Navilio was unavailable for comment.

Navilio’s brother, John, co-owner of the complex, said he has been commuting to DeKalb to work with new complex manager Beth Elkins in restoring the apartments. He said he had not spoken with his brother and did not know the results of the meeting.

John Navilio said he did not know what has happened at the complex during the last four months. He said Seymour Lesorgen, former manager, told him “if you think it’s bad now, you should have seen it when I got there.”

Navilio said the office is in “disarray,” but Lesorgen has offered to help new management sort and understand the filing system previously used.

“I think four months is sufficient time for organization,” he said. “I’d hate to see the complexes he’s been at before.”

Navilio said he has seen much vandalism at the complex. “You fix something and it gets broken,” he said. “It used to be a really nice place.”

He said he is considering hiring a security guard for the complex and has spoken to DeKalb police for advice on keeping the area around the building safe.

“The only way we can go is up,” Navilio said. “It’s a matter of respectability. We’re going to try—it takes time, but it will be an honest effort.”

Navilio said the city’s intentions of filing a petition today “suck,” but said he hoped the meeting went well.

“It makes us look like we deteriorated property,” he said. “We didn’t, and it got shoved in our laps.”