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Developers ratchet up feud over two River North properties

A proposed hotel at 403 North LaSalle Street and Jake Porritt (Credit: Porritt Group and LinkedIn)

Developers Jaime “Jay” Javors and James “Jake” Porritt are showing no signs of ending their raging feud over a pair of disputed River North properties.

The latest salvo is a $17 million defamation lawsuit Javors filed, the fifth in the developers’ two-year legal battle, according to Crain’s.

Javors, of Chicago, claims in the latest suit that Michigan resident Porritt falsely accused one of Javors’ ventures of being on the verge of going broke.

That venture in 2013 signed a ground lease with a trust connected to philanthropist John Cuneo Jr. for properties at 403 North LaSalle Street and 151 West Illinois Street. Two years later, Javors sublet the LaSalle Street lot to Porritt who planned to build a 199-key hotel development.

In 2016, Porritt sued Javors, claiming he deceived him in the deal. Javors responded by filing a suit last year claiming Porritt violated his sublease.

Separately, Javors planned to build a 300-unit rental tower on the Illinois Street lot, but changed plans in order to construct a nine-story office building when Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) rejected the apartment plan. That led the Cuneo trust to sue to evict Javors, saying his ground lease requires an apartment development on the land.

In the latest lawsuit, Javors claims Porritt wanted to undermine Javors’ plan so he can buy the two properties from the Cuneo trust.

An attorney for Porritt denied those claims.

[Crain’s] — John O’Brien

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