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Auction date set for properties once controlled by Rev. Leon Finney Jr.

It will feature 15 properties across the South Side owned by the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation, which is now in bankruptcy.

Rev. Leon Finney at a political event earlier this year.
Properties owned by the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation, now in bankruptcy and once run by the embattled Rev. Leon Finney Jr., above, will be sold at auction next month.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times file photo

More than a dozen properties owned by a Chicago nonprofit developer once run by the embattled Rev. Leon Finney Jr. will be sold to the highest bidder next month at an auction in the Loop.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday that a federal judge overseeing the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation’s bankruptcy proceedings accused Finney of engaging in fraud, self-dealing and mismanagement when he headed the nonprofit.

Finney stepped down as the head of Woodlawn Community Development Corporation in November, a month after the nonprofit filed for bankruptcy.

In April, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Carol Doyle appointed Gina Krol as trustee to take control of the organization. Krol is in the process of selling off Woodlawn’s assets to cover its debts, including $4 million in unpaid taxes and fees to the IRS.

Millennium Properties Real Estate will hold the auction at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 28 at the law offices of Levenfeld Pearlstein, 2 N. LaSalle St., Suite 1300.

The sale includes 15 properties, including the former headquarters of Finney’s failed media venture, Urban Broadcast Media, 4108 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Bids for that building will start at $300,000.

Finney started the media company in 2015 to provide a platform for broadcasters of color. The two-story building went through a $700,000 renovation paid for by PNC Bank, ComEd, and Community Trust Credit Union, according to the South Side Weekly newspaper.

In July, Finney and Urban Broadcast Media were issued an eviction notice by the Cook County sheriff’s office after failing to vacate the building. The property is adjacent to Finney’s landmark church, the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church, which is facing foreclosure.

An eviction notice on the door of the media company tied to Leon FInney Jr.
An eviction notice on the door of the media company tied to Leon FInney Jr.
Justin Jackson / Sun-Times

Daniel Hyman, chief executive of Millennium Properties, said the media company’s recording equipment in the building was taken out during the eviction.

Absent from the list of properties up for auction is a Woodlawn-owned strip mall at the center of the self-dealing allegations against Finney. The bankruptcy proceedings revealed that Woodlawn leased the strip mall in the 1500 block of East 63rd Street to another Finney-led company, Lincoln South Central Real Estate Corporation.

The deal called for Lincoln South Central to manage the shopping center, sublet its retail spaces and pay Woodlawn Community Development Corporation $7,000 a month in rent. But court records show few, if any, rent payments were made, prompting the judge to accuse Finney of “pocketing the rents.”

Cook County Judge Joel Chupack later ordered Finney to vacate the property and pay about $180,000 in damages, attorneys’ fees and other costs.

Aside from Finney’s media center, two adjacent vacant lots in the 2200 block of South State Street near the Cermak-McCormick Green Line station are slated to be auctioned. The minimum bid for one of the lots is $900,000. The other is $300,000.

The rest of the properties:

  • A four-story apartment building at 6121 S. Rhodes Ave. Minimum bid: $200,000.
  • A vacant multi-unit apartment building at 1437-47 E. 65th St. Minimum bid: $125,000.
  • A vacant lot at 4123 S. Calumet Ave. Minimum bid: $125,000.
  • A vacant residential property at 4112 S. King Drive. Minimum bid: $100,000.
  • A vacant lot and vacant residential property at 6523-37 S. Maryland Ave. Minimum bid: $25,000.
  • A vacant lot at 1140 E. 63rd St. No minimum bid.
  • A vacant four-story apartment 6232 S. Woodlawn Ave. No minimum bid.
  • A vacant lot at 6239-41 S. University Ave. No minimum bid.
  • A vacant lot at 6310 S. Woodlawn Ave. No minimum bid.
  • A vacant lot at 6312 S. Woodlawn Ave. No minimum bid.
  • A vacant lot at 6445 S. Kimbark Ave. No minimum bid.
  • A vacant lot at 6521 S. Evans Ave. No minimum bid.
The Sun-Times’ Leon Finney Jr. investigation, published Sept. 8.
Read the Sun-Times’ investigation, published Sept. 8.