Chicago residents and business owners who suffer losses from large groups of young people running wild in their neighborhood may want to take a tip from a North Side alderman: Bill the city!
The unusual suggestion came from Lakeview Ald. Bennett Lawson (44th) following an hours-long “teen trend” near the Belmont CTA station in June.
Lawson’s advice may come in handy for folks in the South Loop, where hundreds of people, primarily teenagers, ran rampant on Sunday evening. Like the owner of the 7-Eleven store at 560 West Grenshaw, which was looted by dozens of teens.
CWBChicago learned that a small businessperson recently took ownership of the Grenshaw location, which had been owned by 7-Eleven’s corporate operations.
While some observers quickly conclude that insurance will cover losses, that’s not necessarily true. Many insurance policies carve out exceptions for mob action and civil unrest.
A Lakeview resident learned that the hard way on the Monday after Chicago’s Pride Parade.
Dominic Rescigno, who performed at the Annoyance Theatre, 851 West Belmont, on the evening of June 26, walked out to see hundreds of people flooding the street.
“I could see that people were jumping on cars. I couldn’t see my car, but I knew…it was totally destroyed,” he told NBC Chicago. Rescigno told the station he was looking at a $15,000 auto repair bill.
He and his partner were on the hook for repair bills, he said, because of the mob action exception.
He said his insurance company told him, “‘You don’t have the package that covers mob insurance,’… I thought (it was a joke). I didn’t realize I needed to check the ‘mob’ box.”
Enter Alderman Lawson. He addressed the Lakeview trend in his weekly newsletter on June 30.
“If you or a neighbor experienced any vehicle or property damage,” Lawson wrote, “we highly recommend filing a claim with the City. You can do that here.”
Lawson’s helpful link will take you to the Department of Law’s “claims” page, the first stop on what will surely be a long road. The page invites the public to submit claims for motor vehicle accidents, property damage, and general liability.
A database of city claims shows they often involve damage to cars—think potholes—and can take years to reach a resolution.
The good news? If your claim clears all of the bureaucratic hurdles, the City Council almost always approves payment unanimously, WBEZ reported in 2019.