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Cat stink fever: Couple sues neighbor over 20 smelly cats

Exterior Condominium building where Lake View couple is suing their downstairs neighbor claiming odor from woman's 20 Cats  has

Exterior of the Condominium building where a Lake View couple is suing their downstairs neighbor claiming the odor from the woman's 20 Cats has wreaked havoc on their allergies and left their condo unsaleable. Tuesday, August 21, 2012 | Scott Stewart~Sun Times

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Updated: September 23, 2012 6:18AM

They’re stuck with a stink, a pungent cat stink emanating from the condo downstairs where some 20 felines lick their paws and lay their furry heads, so a Lake View couple is heading to court.

Johanna Torres and her husband, Matthew Greenberg, say they cannot sell the odorous unit they own in the 500 block of West Surf, nor can they breathe, according to their attorney Michael J. Zink.

The couple say their downstairs neighbor, Rossana Ioppolo, keeps 20 cats in the one-bedroom unit below theirs, and the smell aggravates Torres’ allergies, said Zink, who filed a lawsuit on their behalf this week in Cook County Circuit Court. Their doctor advised against trying to have a baby on account of the smell, too, Zink said.

They did not want to speak to the media, Zink said, nor would they let a reporter into their home because they were having the carpets and floors cleaned.


“Today you can still smell it in the unit,” Zink said.

They’re tired of talking about it. They’ve been complaining to the condo board for about a year, he said, documenting the smells permeating their condo via the ductwork they share with Ioppolo. The furnace closet is the worst, he said.

So they papered up some vents and left the air conditioning off for the last two years, Zink said.

Torres and Greenberg moved into the tony Commodore Green Briar Landmark building in 2003, according to their lawsuit. Ioppolo moved into the unit below them in 2008, and kept about 20 cats in her condo.

Thenthe odors began.

Zink has smelled them.

“It’s something else,” he said. “Especially when the air conditioning’s not on. You can smell the litter, you can smell the cats.”

The couple say they’ve spent thousands of dollars to clean and replace their things, to no avail.

The lawsuit is a last resort, their attorney said. “They’re not litigious people. I’ve been representing them for close to a year now, trying to negotiate. Why has nothing been done?”

The lawsuit seeks to prevent the woman from having any cats in her unit and to make her pay to replace the ductwork between the two condos. The couple also wants to be reimbursed for what they spent mitigating the odors.

In addition to Ioppolo, the lawsuit lists 10 board members and a former property manager, accusing the board of failing to intervene even after the couple followedcondo association protocol to complain.

Ioppolo, who lists herself as a pet sitter on her LinkedIn account, did not return calls or social networking messages for comment. Neither did her attorney.

The board’s attorney, Robert Nesbit, declined repeatedly to comment.

Contributing: LeeAnn Shelton

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