Jilted elevator company suing condo association over terminated maintenance contract
Loop North News

(Above) Elevator lobby on lower level of Marina City’s west tower. Click on image to view larger version.

An arbitration hearing is scheduled for Friday between Marina Towers Condominium Association and ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corporation over a maintenance contract for eleven elevators at Marina City. Though the elevators seemed to break down often, ThyssenKrupp says MTCA cancelled the contract early and owes $32,427.

15-Dec-16 – Frustrated with elevators breaking down and repairs taking too long, the condominium association at Marina City has long since taken its business elsewhere. However, the company it previously had a contract with for elevator maintenance says their agreement was not properly cancelled and they’re owed for lost profit and for a year-old invoice they say the condo association refuses to pay.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corporation is seven months into a lawsuit against Marina Towers Condominium Association. The engineering company with offices worldwide, including one in the Loop, says it has a signed contract to maintain eleven elevators – five passenger elevators in each tower and one freight elevator – from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2016, in exchange for $8,000 per month.

If there are complaints, the contract says ThyssenKrupp has 60 days to resolve them but after that, MTCA can terminate the agreement with 30 days’ notice. ThyssenKrupp says it performed all its obligations under the agreement and corrected alleged deficiencies within 60 days.

Photo by Steven Dahlman (Left) Elevator lobby and hallway on 27th floor of Marina City’s east tower.

But on February 15, 2016, MTCA “prematurely terminated” the agreement ten and a half months early, says ThyssenKrupp. Though they have not done any elevator maintenance for MTCA since, the company says it “remains ready, willing, and able to resume elevator maintenance services on the property through the agreement’s December 31, 2016, expiration date.” In the meantime, they claim losses of $32,427 due to “multiple breaches of the agreement.”

The figure represents lost profit of $31,727 plus $700 ThyssenKrupp says it has not been paid for a service call on December 1, 2015, that required an engineer and assistant to work overtime, an additional cost that was passed on to MTCA. An invoice dated December 14, 2015, says workers removed a roller guide assembly from a broken elevator, installed a new one, tested it, and put the elevator back in service. The invoice, sent to the attention of David Gantt, who was residential property manager at the time, has a handwritten note in the upper right corner that reads, “Do not pay.”

“Simply stated, I hired an elevator consultant who knew everyone at Thyssen Krupp – as one of their former employees – and he recommended not to pay,” says Gantt, reached by email on Friday, though he could not recall the consultant’s name. “That consultant notified Thyssen of the errors they had to correct. This will all come out in court. But oh my, what beautiful lobbies and elevator interiors!” David Gantt

At its meeting on January 21, 2016, the condo board approved a new maintenance contract with Suburban Elevator Company, based in East Dundee, Illinois, about 40 miles northwest of Chicago.

NIU Media Services “The board and management has been fully aware of and has fully shared the frustrations experienced with the numerous elevator outages,” wrote MTCA president Ellen Chessick (left) to unit owners and residents in February.

“We had initially been trying to work with our contracted service provider, ThyssenKrupp, to resolve the issues and get them to respond to outages much more quickly. When it became apparent that despite our efforts, ThyssenKrupp was not meeting our requirements, we had to go through the steps legally required per the service contract and to end the relationship.”

Chessick assured owners and residents that Suburban Elevator Company “will be more responsive and at a favorable cost.”

MTCA has filed a counter-claim, details of which have not been made public. The case has been referred for private arbitration, with a hearing scheduled for Friday. A status hearing back in Circuit Court is scheduled for February 21.

Photo by Steven Dahlman ThyssenKrupp contractually-obligated performance requirements…

  • Elevator must travel floor-to-floor within nine seconds.
  • Door must open within 1.5 seconds and close within 2.5 seconds.
  • Stopping accuracy must be no more than plus or minus 0.25 inches.

(Left) Buttons in a freight elevator at Marina City.

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

Published 15-Dec-16 5:47 PM

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