Lebanon property owner sues over rental payments, repair work

By Kelly Holleran | Oct 10, 2012


A Carol Stream man claims he lost out on tens of thousands of dollars when his property manager failed to perform promised repair work and failed to hand over rental payments made by tenants.

John W. Pepper filed a lawsuit Sept. 10 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Leroy Dawson Sr.

Pepper claims he and L. Paul Dawson Jr. co-own a property at 201 West Dee St. in Lebanon. When Leroy Dawson Sr. approached Pepper with a prospective tenant for the property, Pepper agreed to lease the property for $400 per month if Leroy Dawson Sr. agreed to become its property manager, according to the complaint.

Leroy Dawson Sr. engaged in the deal and began collecting rental payments from Pepper's first tenant, Marco Holmes, the suit states.

Soon thereafter, on Feb. 16, 2011, Lebanon City Manager Parke Smith inspected the residence and found a number of discrepancies, including window problems, which contained broken glass, the complaint says. Smith informed Leroy Dawson Sr. of the issues, but Pepper claims he was not made aware of the home's problems.

In fact, it was not until Jan. 9, when Pepper received a letter from his insurance agency threatening to terminate his policy, that Pepper became aware of the mandated repairs, according to the complaint.

In turn, Pepper contacted Leroy Dawson Sr., who confessed knowledge of the problems, but said he did not feel up to fixing them following a surgery that had occurred in August of 2010, the suit states.

Pepper explained to Leroy Dawson Sr. that the problems would have to be corrected by March or he faced losing his insurance policy. Although Leroy Dawson Sr. agreed to make the required changes, he failed to do so by Feb. 9. Pepper proceeded to fire him, the complaint says.

On Feb. 10, Pepper hired William Sandretti to perform the improvements on his property. In return for Sandretti's work, Pepper claims he compensated him $4,958.28.

Later, Pepper requested an accounting of the funds of the rental property from Leroy Dawson Sr. However, Leroy Dawson Sr. failed to provide the requested paperwork, the suit states.

In his complaint, Pepper alleges breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, conversion and breach of contract against Leroy Dawson Sr., saying he negligently failed to make the necessary repairs to the property, failed to provide him with a copy of the inspection report, failed to schedule a follow-up inspection and failed to provide a full accounting of all rental payments received from May 2009 through February.

"Plaintiff has not received any of the collected rents from the tenants of the West Dee residence, rents due and owing to plaintiff pursuant to a lease agreement, for the period of May of 2009 through February of 2012, rent charged at the rate of $400 per month for a period of 34 months, for a total sum due and owing of $13,600," the suit states.

With the missed rental payments and the repair costs he incurred, Pepper claims he is owed $18,558.28, plus costs.

Jonathan D. Marks of The Marks Law Firm in Creve Coeur will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-467.

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