Chicago has an access to records ordinance that is broader than what is granted either in the Illinois Condominium Property Act or the Illinois Not for Profit Corporations Act. Does Chicago's home rule power allow this, or is its owner-friendly ordinance pre-empted by either or both of the state laws? Answer, from the Illinois Supreme Court: the Chicago ordinance is valid. A big victory for condo owners in the city of Chicago.
I was asked by a real estate lawyer if this would lead to "fishing expeditions" by owners, to which I replied as follows: I don't think fishing expeditions by owners will be a significant problem. People aren't interested in wasting their own time reading these records. They normally ask only when they have real questions. The much larger problem is the standard practice by property managers, lawyers, and condo boards of stonewalling owners who want to see how their money is being spent. These statutes and ordinances were enacted because denial of access is so common, and so members can keep their boards and professionals in check. There is no other meaningful oversight of condo associations in the state of Illinois. Hundreds of associations in the city of Chicago have become or are becoming insolvent and defunct. Community Investment Corporation has taken over and de-converted over a hundred already with many more in the pipeline under the Distressed Condominium Property Act. Hundreds of others are running with inadequate reserves, or have sweetheart deals for services that involve nepotism, self-dealing, or outright kickbacks, and even deliberate fraud and embezzlement. Right now, the state of Illinois doesn't even know how many associations there are in the state. Owners need quick and easy access to records and these attorney fee provisions are the only way to do it.