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Fire up the bulldozers, Mr. Cobb

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Well, it appears Chris "Mr. Teardown" Cobb is going ahead with plans to demolish the historic Hammerschmidt mansion at 432 E. Chicago Ave. in the heart of Naperville. Less than a week after saying he was willing to field offers from anyone interested in buying the home to preserve this 1893 Victorian gem, he's now inviting in TV cameras for a Discovery Channel show "Total Wrecklamation" Saturday, and auctioning off the home's historic fixtures.

Boy, that was quick.

Should Chris Cobb be hailed as a hero of economic development? A master entrepreneur able to keep the economic engine turning during these sluggish times? Or is he exploiting the situation, a profiteer grabbing prime real estate who is unfazed by pleas from preservationists?

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Please. That whole cheesy family gives me the willies.

My wife and I could only laugh at his silly offer and anyone thinking that it was sincere. Then again, he's a realtor (and it appears a successful one), and to expect differently would be foolish.

Unbelievable! A travesty in a beautiful town that is all about history! Now Naperville will lose another beautiful old Grand Dame. I bet if the similarly designed Nichols house was to be demolished there would be a real uproar.

Money talks. Old Victorians walk!

The Cobb team has struck out this time. Nowhere has it been mentioned Mr. Cobb's relation to the infamous "Cobb Team" of realtors - wow, a realtor that buys a home for over half a million dollars who just didn't know how much the house was in disrepair! I am sorry, but any human being who invests their savings into owning a home knows full well what condition it's next door neighbors home is in, without even going inside - no rocket-scientist needed there. I shutter to wonder what shape homes have been in when he assists clients in buying homes. People move to North Naperville and the downtown area for the charm and quaintness of it's neighborhoods, way to ruin that Cobb! Less than 1 week of making it public that the home is on death's row, a national TV deal - pride for you?; disgust for the rest of us.

So WHY did Mr. Cobb purchase this property?? - just for his gain of $$$$ - the COBB family has more than half million dollars which they could put to good use by rehabbing this property and saving a gem. - maybe he could be on TV after he did somthing like this.

Boycott the Cobbs
The Cobb family has a long history of ignoring Naperville history, witness the flipping of many houses that were torn down in the East Highlands.
Naperville, let's show the Cobbs we are tired of their arrogance and ignorance of what is important in our town.
It's time for them to retire from the real estate business.
Don't list with them, don't buy through them.
Boycott any home for sale with a Cobb sign in the yard.

The Cobb family makes lots of money as realtors selling Naperville charm. If they take a wrecking ball to some of the charm what will they have to sell. I say we hit them in the pocketbook. BOYCOTT REMAX AND THE COBB FAMILY REMAX. Don't buy and sell a home with them. Keep the Naperville charm.

The Cobb family makes lots of money as realtors selling Naperville charm. If they take a wrecking ball to some of the charm what will they have to sell. I say we hit them in the pocketbook. BOYCOTT REMAX AND THE COBB FAMILY REMAX. Don't buy and sell a home with them. Keep the Naperville charm.

Chris Cobb and the whole Cobb family should be hailed as hero of nothing but greed. I agree the Naperville community should boycott the Cobb team, they care nothing of this town and it's history, they just want to fill their pockets with more cash!

Is Mr. Cobb to blame or is the people who buy these Mc Mansions to blame fueling all these tear downs?

I have lived in Naperville for several years and to me it is a shame that it has lost what it seemed to have which is small town charm in a bigger city. Maybe I never noticed it before but it seems to be out of control now.

Personally I am looking to move west.

If this whole episode teaches us anything, it is to question our motives in any decision. I am sure the Cobb's couldn't fathom the Pandora's Box that was opened when they purchased this historic property. But it is a lesson to us all to think twice as to our motives. Will it hurt or harm others? Will it bring reactions that may be insurmountable in the future? Is this a selfish decision or altruitic decision? The Cobb's will have to deal with these repercussions down the line.

Unbelievable that this lovely lady would be a tear down. Tear down the split levels and junkers! The Cobbs gave it less than a week to find a buyer. Shame!!! When we purchased our home the seller's agent was the Cobb Team. We found them very arrogant and self absorbed. We will have no problem BOYCOTTING THE COBB TEAM AND REMAX OF NAPERVILLE. I am not against redeveloping neighborhoods, some homes need to go, this isn't one of them! Oh, bad PR move for the Cobbs! HA!

Here we go again..... Cobb's offer to sell the house was totally lacking in sincerity. This entire purchase/flip/teardown ploy was all about the money and greed. Folks, why would you use the Cobb Team when they don't bother to inspect the properties that they deal with (like Chris didn't know what condition the house was in). The Cobb Team's business is in the process of shrinking dramatically and it's really gonna hurt in this awful market. He's trying to do a quickie demolition before he gets sued so he can build another eyesore like the one he lives in now. I am sure that this story will dredge up Senior's stalking incident a few years back as well--and this one won't go away as quietly as that did. Gotta say Chris, nothing like shooting the family business in the foot. When the rest comes out about the widow from California, it's going to get even more salacious than it is now. Stay tuned for more to come.......

Why don't one of you people who is so upset buy this house and spend their own money on renovating it? It is easy to tell other people what to do with their investments, harder to spend your own money on an extensive renovation. I don't know how long the house was on the market, but I would think that anyone interested spending their own money on buying it and renovating it had a chance to bid on it when it was on the market.

I doubt Cobb is hurting his business as most people want to hire a shrewd operator when they sell their house. While he may have been disingenuous at best, and dishonest at worst while stating his intentions, this will probably not hurt his business.

Last, but not least, it should be "Fire up the excavators", as no one wrecks with a bulldozer anymore on these tight city lots.

It is always easier to blame someone else in these situations. I have no personal knowledge of the "Cobb" reputation but if such a house is to be preserved then we have a "show me the money" situation. No matter what somwone's opinion of a particular real estate person is, a good business person would be glad to sell at an appropriate price. Why won't anyone else purchase this property? At several million for purchase and rehab, do you want the city to save it? Who? In this situation Mr. Cobb is only a reflection of the community and its current culture. Take a look in the mirror, Naperville.
(By the way, Greed? If so, may I stop by and purchase your property for what you paid for it 10 years ago? After all, it is only greed that you are expecting to make a great return on your home purchase)

All potential buyers, including the Cobbs, were provided a detailed list of necessary repairs, priced out by an architect and contractor. They are categorically misrepresenting their original intentions, and cashing in on a local treasure. What a shame to lose a piece of Naperville's important history.

I’m a fifth generation descendent of Adolph Hammerschmidt and care passionately about the preservation of this home. I grew up in Glen Ellyn and my husband grew up in Naperville, and we both learned early on, through family history and through visiting the Naper Settlement, respectively, the historical significance of the Hammerschmidt home and all that Adolph Hammerschmidt did for Naperville.

Naperville is such a smart city and has done so much to continue to new attract families to the town. But beyond the overall quality of life, good schools, and convenience to Chicago, what really sets Naperville apart is its history, and the Hammerschmidt home epitomizes this history.

As you may have heard, a rally is planned for this Saturday morning at 8:30am at the home. This situation really is a disgrace but I am hopeful it isn’t too late to save this home.

I can not believe what the Cobbs are getting away with now. Please everyone DO NOT DO BUSINESS with the Cobb team. How could realtors do such a dishonest, disgraceful thing. Chris, how do you sleep at night,for that matter how does your whole family sleep at night? This is a perfect example on why as parents we should set good examples for our children, if we don't then they turn out to be just as jerky as the BAD parents. Way to go one raising bad kids and we wonder why our world is in the state it is. Because of families like the Cobbs.

Cobb knew what he was going to do with the house when he bought it. He has done this with countless other houses, to make a profit. The fact that he is putting it on a tv show, netherless, is appaling. All he wants is publicity, and what a way to get it. I wish that there was another way he could get it though, and not through demolishing a lovely house.

This makes me very sad. As a young girl I dreamt of living in that house. It looked like a castle to me. So much of the Naperville Charm that I remember is gone.

Another mess that the Cobb family has gotten themselves into...they are white trash with cash.

To By Anonymous, What's with the statement "may I stop by and purchase your property for what you paid for it 10 years ago?" The article I read said the Cobb's purchased the property just last year, 2007.
I don't think the Cobb's had any intention of selling or rehabbing the house. They just wanted to give the appearance of trying to sell it. They didn't set up the auction and TV show in 1 week.
Didn't they just announce a week or so ago they were trying to sell it?
Unfortunatley it's their house and they are free to do with it as they wish. I have no intention of using the "Cobb Team" for my real estate needs. It's really a shame to see this house destroyed.

It is amazing to me to see the success of the "Cobb Family Team" over the years. As someone who sort of grew-up around Bernie and Chris, I can say that they were nice guys, personally, but did not have much brains between the two of them. Their father was the business for many years prior and he is even more known now with his antics. We have bought and sold three times in Naperville and I never gave it one thought to contact them to represent us for many of the reasons mentioned on this blog topic. No, I am not jealous about their success and can care less. I just knew better, and did not want my property de-valued for the sake of them making a quick sale and profit. It will be interesting to see what effect, if any, this will have on future business for them.

Am I going to be the only one on this blog to say something nice about Chris Cobb? Nope!! I think he bought the place to search for Applegate's treasure in the tower (boy I'm old aren't I). I hope it does hurt his business but that's probably already hurting.

It is hard to believe that Mr. Cobb, who is a Naperville native, has been a realtor since 1992, who’s family has over 80 years of combined experience in real estate and is a member of the Cobb Team that sells approximately 300 homes a years was not aware of what he was getting into before he purchased the Hammerschmidt Home. It is a shame Mr. Cobb that you will not rehab the home and leave apart of history standing in Naperville. I am sure, even if you have to suffer a lost, you have made your fear share of money selling homes in Naperville. Shame on anyone who purchases apart of the Hammerschmidt Home from Mr. Cobb so he can make a profit at the expense of demolitioning a piece of history?

Nothing about this is surprising with the Cobb name attached to it.

To the posters who believe everyone should put their money where their mouths are, if anyone posting here who cares about this property had the money, we wouldn't even be blogging about this.

It's unfortunate that the price of progress in this town means the loss of its past.

I live downtown Naperville and have been following this story for some time. I am all for homeowners and builders profiting by building new homes in the downtown area, as long as they do so in a fair, ethical, and transparent way. That didn't happen here. Here are the facts (as I understand them) that trouble me the most:

(1) The former owners did not want the Cobbs (next door neighbors) buying the home or even entering the house to view it when it was for sale. They apparently were not friendly with eachother and the sellers knew the Cobbs would tear it down if they bought it.

(2) The Cobbs went to great lengths to hide the fact that realtor Chris Cobb had a personal stake in the purchase of this mansion. The property was purchased in Susan Wilke's name using a Chicago address (rather than Cobb's name and actual address next door). I understand his father (Bernie Cobb Sr.) acted as his broker of record, rather than Chris. I also understand from a letter signed by the Sellers themselves and their listing agent that Bernie told them his client "Susan" had restored another mansion in California years earlier and that this mansion really reminded her of that one and inspired her to rennovate this one as well. I believe real estate ethics rules require that any broker disclose to the other party in writing any personal interest that they or any family member have in a transaction. Doesn't this conduct violate that rule?

(3) Chris Cobb and Susan Wilkie pretend to be surprised at how much money it will cost to restore the home. First off, the Seller's agent had an architect prepare a 30-page detailed quote that was provided to every propsective buyer before they were allowed to view the property (I have a copy). It contained an itemized estimate totalling well over $500,000 in restoration costs. Second, this mansion is right next door to Chris Cobb's house. It was inhabited by an older couple with health problems for many years and he personally saw (presumably daily) its condition. I don't find any sincerity in his surprise at the estimated renovation costs.

(4) Less than 1 week after publicly indicating (in last week's Sun article) that he is willing to sell the property at cost to anyone willing to "fully preserve" it, he has posted a "pre-demolition" notice with a sale to take place THIS Saturday to sell off any historic components of the home to the highest bidders. I also just found out that he had applied for a demolition permit back in May. Once again, I don't find any sincerity in his offer.

(5) This mansion is truly one of the most noteworthy historic homes in downtown Naperville. The shady (at best) circumstances surrounding how the Cobbs bought it combined with the fact that it is such a historical marker for this community makes this a really shameful story about an otherwise wonderful community.

If anyone has any other information to support or contradict these thoughts, please share.

I understand that lots of people in the neighborhood are meeting Saturday morning at 9:30 in front of the home to protest the auction. I plan to be there -- please spread the word!!

Regardless of the outcome, we should all take note of the level of complete indifference (arguably much worse) Chris and Bernie Cobb have shown for this community. I don't expect their real estate brokerage business in this community will be quite as strong in the future.

This is shameful. The diabolical Cobbs strike again. Big news splash to prove his "honorable" intentions for all to see....when the reality is that this part of a dishonorable plan to destroy history for money. ENOUGH! This is yet another example of the Cobb Team's utter lack of integity. What does it say for Naperville that this bunch of scheming, crooked schrews continue to have success here? What does it say to the quality of individuals in our local government that roll over and die for big money -- versus doing what's right? This is a prime example of what greed and ego can do -- and will be the ultimate demise of a beautiful, historical site -- and for the integrity of our city. Shameful.....


I just learned that a group of local downtown neighbors filed a Petition for Landmark Status for the mansion, which under the Naperville code apparently stops any further demolition of the house until the city holds a public hearing and decides whether to grant the Petition!

The BAD news is that I don't know if that automatically stops Cobb from auctioning off the interior stuff on Saturday. Maybe this will convince him that he needs to delay this auction until the City and the public have had the opportunity to vet this further, which could allow time for a buyer who wants to restore the property to take Cobb up on his offer.

Regardless, PLEASE stop by this historic home on Saturday morning - 432 E. Chicago (Chicago and Sleight) to show your support. I hear the media will be there as well. Maybe this will shame Cobb into doing the right thing???

I have no problem boycotting the Cobbs.

I am not against new development in this downtown area. Some of the newer homes just south of Chicago are really well done and add a lot to the area. But this house is really a historical marker for the downtown area, like the other larger Victorian on Chicago closer to Loomis. I guess if the Cobbs had done this on the up-and-up and the old owner was ok selling it to them, and ok with it being torn down, then this would not be such a big story. But it sounds like that was not the case. If even half of this is true, the Cobbs should be ashamed of themselves.

If nothing else good comes from it, maybe this will bring this wonderful downtown Naperville community together. This is such a great place to live.

Maybe we can save this thing -- Is this petition official? Does that mean the auction this Saturday is not happening? I plan to show up Saturday morning at 9:30am to support the cause!

This home would make such a great bed & breakfast or upscale apartment building where the rents would surely pay for the mortgage and rennovations. What could be better than having an apartment in that place.

The City or someone must intervene in the scheduled demolition. What a travesty!!

I can not believe that anyone would buy a house for the amount of money that Cobb-Wilkes did and not get a home inspection...especially if one of the buyers is a REALTOR. Why did the Sun fail to mention Chris Cobb's occupation? It seems to me that information was extremely material to the story. Boy, isn't he lucky, having the house he allegedly wants to sell, and then the contents he want to have auctioned off, making front page and page 3 news. How can I get that kind of deal on items I'd like to sell?

Here's my guess as to what will happen:

1. Cobb family will regroup, take property off the market/demolition block and pay to rehab it properly

2. They will offer some phony apology stating "we didn't know that this property meant so much to the Naperville residents." They may even take out ads in the Sun and other papers with their sorry apologies.

3. They will re-list the property when rehab is complete and market turns around.

4. They will make some "offer" to donate any profits to charity (I can only wonder who will be doing the accounting here to determine the profit/loss)

5. Their family business will suffer greatly.

6. They will fleece some out of town buyer into buying it without telling them of the hornets nest that they are going to be getting.

The only problem with this is that they'll be stuck living next to the bufoon in his eyesore of a house.

This could play out for years folks.....In my estimation, the Cobb's are virtually done in this town. What goes around comes around..... Anyone who is thinking of doing business with them, think twice because folks will not take kindly to it.

Since this home is not in the historic district, can't an owner do what they please with their own home? If it was that important of a home, why wasn't it protected by the City. The previous owners simply did not take care of the home. At that point, it is a property investment, where the cost of repairing it would exceed the value. This home was on the market for approx half a year. Where were the buyers, where were the people within the city limits in charge of the historic district? Did not everyone who wanted to purchase this home get their chance? As usual, people are reacting instead of being pro-active.

The charm of Naperville is the foundation of the Cobb's business. It seems if the Cobb Team were genuine supporters of this community, THEY would be on the other side of this sensitive issue.


Teag42, why would you think it is great news that someone is trying to steal another's property with an unwanted landmark status? If the house is out of the historical landmark district and the owner does not want landmark protection, they should not be forced into it. If that happened to me, I would let the house rot away (and help the process with "accidental" pipe bursting and other such things) until it was declared unsafe for habitation. Might take a year or two longer, but that house would come down. If I had a news media and protest happening, I would move the excavator in and destroy it on the day of the protest.

If you think the house should be saved, buy it and renovate it. Otherwise, let other's do what they want with their property just like you do what you want with your property.

I blame the cops... Some how they had something to do with it just like every other naperville blog... jk

I was shocked to see this article in The Sun. When my husband and I first moved to Naperville 12 years ago, our realtor gave us a tour of downtown Naperville and drove us by this home purposely pointing out its beauty. Since then, I've driven by this home countless times admiring it. I've always felt this home would make a great bed and breakfast. WIth Naperville growing so quickly, I'm surprised there is not more than one b&b downtown. I've never been inside this house, but from the outside it looks like a perfect b&b spot. Maybe some entreprenuer with interests in Naperville history and preservation might see this as a great opportunity.

Congratulations, you're one step closer to being Schaumburg, with all of its charm and history.

The audacity of the Cobb family is unbelievable. Did they really think that no one would notice, or is it that they just have no regard for others opinion of them. It would almost seem that they are amoral.
They surely are duplicitous and lack empathy for others.

As a lifelong resident of Naperville, a city so proud of its heritage,
I find it impossible to believe that an historic house of this architectural quality could be demolished so callously.

Somehow we must save this house from the auction scheduled for Saturday and then from demolition.

Well, this sure wouldn't happen on the North Shore. Proving once again how small-minded the new money is here in Naperville.

This has got to take the cake for greed, deceit, and total disregard for truth and fairness. My heart goes out to Charlene O'Neill who owned the house and was totally decieved by the Cobb Family. She and her husband Dan had over the years put their hearts into that house and her wish was to sell the house to someone who would restore it to it's deserved grandeur. She sold the house under those supposed terms.
As for the few previous comments (Ken, Anonymous-7:42 pm), I don't think you understand the whole story! You obviously must be the Cobbs, relatives or paid employees. This home was never on the market by the Cobbs-if it was it was less than one week-not on any listing and no sign was in the yard! How stupid do they think people are-they're the imbeciles!
Lies only create grief, bigger lies and pain! The Cobbs are finished in this town!

Such a shame. And the dust has barely settled from razing the Clow House, too. Nothing speaks louder about a community's values than those things it chooses to preserve and protect. The structure belongs to Chris Cobb but its significant place in Naperville's history belongs to the People. Isn't it time we devise some program to purchase demolition rights from willing owners of historic properties BEFORE they are at risk?

Some of these comments are awfully CORNY ON THE COBB Team.

Now quit worrying about that house! Relax and have a nice
COBB salad!

that is all.................

First I'd like to say that after reading most of these comments above, many are written by the same person, I'd strongly suggest that person to be the same person who left a letter in my mailbox tonight. Gene buddy what are you doing? why are you so angry? is old age setting in.
Your son told me you'd retired! As I understand you've got plenty of money, why don't you buy it?

If there is anyone reading this, which I don't think there is.
I'm sure I'll find out, as I would be very disappointed if my neighbors really did write these comments. I've always thought my neighbor as very intelligent people and not easily mislead!

Gene as I've been in this business for 23 years, I know it's all about money, that's why you didn't tell your seller to register it, as they wouldn't get their asking price, nor would you get as much commission! That's right you change that at the last minute don't you, oh that's right that was your son. Oh silly me!!!
Talking about dishonest, now where's Barts paperwork!!!
Isn't that his name, it's been a few years.
Gene you never mentioned to my builder that I couldn't demo the house. The numbers just didn't ADD UP!
For everyones INFO it'll cost a lot more than $550k to bring it up to todays living standards.
I don't believe Chris Cobb said it was going to cost more than he thought! He's not a developer! Who started this Gossip?
I know one big gossiper in the neighborhood, but I wont mention any names.

Chris Cobb is not a developer, he's an excellent Real Estate agent, and yes Chris has helped me buy several homes.
Can I ask the ECHO, Heritage Society, above complainers and the City of Naperville, where were all of you when the house needed repair?
Where were you when the house was on the market for 4 months?
Gee if you guys gave me $550,000 to fix it up, I would have done it. Make sure you had another $500k, as it always cost more on hidden problems, believe me I know!
Before you pass judgment on anyone, make sure you know what you're talking about, many of these comments above don't make sense.
Ask yourself did you offer to give $1 or a hand to help keep the house in good repair?
I personal did, I know Chris did too!

I'd guess Chris and Sue brought the place to turn it into a nice garden and yard. Not to build a big house and sell it!
Believe me, I had know idea, how much work these old homes are, it's hard to find the right sized wood.
I'd love the city to give us 1893 home owners a break in taxes for house repairs, now wouldn't that be a great idea?
Now ECHO, Heritage Society and City of Naperville, this could be something you can learn from this!
I know you guys have some pull, lets work on this!


I'm not a Coward, I signed my name.

How very generous of Mr. Cobb to offer to sell the house for what he paid for it....Only a guess; but it has probably gone down in value....The best part will be watching him on the televison show...I cannot think of a worse person to have on the debut of a new TV show...
This is the Cobb way, take advantage (or try to) of the sellers...How many homes that the Cobb team listed were bought by them as they told the seller's that it was a fair price, only to tear it down or sell it at a higher price??? I cannot believe that they got away with it for so long.

Riva, why must I "obviously must be the Cobbs, relatives or paid employees."? I am not any of the above. I am a person sick of other people trying to take away a private property owner's rights without any cost to them. Everyone here who wants the house restored wants it done with other peoples money.

The house sat on the market for 4-6 months, depending on who you listen to. One of the many people who wanted to restore it had ample opportunity to buy it and restore it. No one did, so now the current property owner gets to do what he wants to with it. End of story, and end of another dilapidated old house.


You are the uneducated one! You obviously didn't receive your education from District 203...lol

From what I've heard the Cobbs have screwed the old owners from the get go...I guess they're just doing what they excel at.


A couple of points:
- Walt Disney used intermediaries to buy property in Florida. It is not unethical. It can prevent "bad blood" between seller and buyer from spoiling a transaction.
- If all the parties to the sales transaction were completely free to do as they wish, then there is nothing illegal either. In this case the seller was perfectly happy to sell the property without any guarantees against demolition.
- Why isn't everyone equally upset that the previous owners let the property decline like has been implied? They may have "heart" but didn't put (have?) the money down. As Bryce mentioned, where is the application for preservation before the sale?

I don't want to see that house lost any more than anyone else. It is a bad situation all around. But is it also not my place to say what the legal owner of the property can do with it within the confines of the law.

There is BIG money in this town. Lets see it if the community wants this house preserved.

"show me the money" wrote:

"- Walt Disney used intermediaries to buy property in Florida. It is not unethical. It can prevent 'bad blood' between seller and buyer from spoiling a transaction."

If there is already bad blood between the seller and the prospective buyer, and the seller would normally NOT choose to sell to that party, then it is certainly unethical to have a third party masquerade as an independent interest. I agree with you that it is probably not illegal, though.

It's sad that people think that senior citizens are well versed in real estate practices of the 21st century (especially those of the Cobb family), and are blaming this situation on the previous owners of this home.

My parents are in their 80s. They lived in their Naperville home for over 40 years, and had no clue how to handle it's sale. They come from a generation that trusts people - doctors, lawyers, salespeople, telemarketers, and yes, even real estate agents. It's difficult at times to help them, stop them, or make them listen.

One of the worst parts of this situation is that Mr. Cobb felt it was right, ethical, moral - whatever he was thinking, to dupe the elderly and the agents who represented them. He's nothing more or less than a scam artist. If he had one, he'd do well to clean his conscience.

Some of you people need to find a life. Your quick to bash other people on their decisions. What Cris decides to do with a piece of property that he owns, is his decision. The offer is there if someone else wants it. Lets worry about things that are really problems. I was born and grew up in Naperville, and got my education in district 203 for the person who was writing about Bryce.No one buys anything for an investment wanting to loose money.It should be up to the owners of a propoerty to do what they want with it.If you want to blame someone, blame the people who started allowing all this teardown garbage in the first place. Houses that are in good shape being knocked down in older neighborhoods and these huge homes being jammed in. Maybe this will have the city put an end to the non-sense. He's not breaking any ordinances, so let him do what he wants.

Oh, and by the way, Chris is not offering to sell it as stated for $770,000 he's tacking on a $30,000 "handling fee" and no realtor commission.

Dave Dave Dave?,
Of course anyone can do anything with their property...this is America. The issue is the way they acquired the property...through a systematic timeline of deceat and lies from Bernie Cobb, to the widow from Chicago, to Chris Cobb. They should have their realtor licenses taken away and thrown in jail. And you wonder what is wrong with the real estate and mortgage business in this country? Because this happens everywhere and the only way it will stop is through prosecution of the offenders.

Some of you want to boycott Cobb/REMAX? Smart money boycotts the entire ECHO neighborhood and the "Hysterical" Preservation neighborhood and properties. If I'm mortgaging big money on property, I call the shots. I'm on the line for it. Not a bunch of you progressive ninnies. I will do with my home what I please (within ordinance and law) and not what YOU want me to do with my property. My favorite is a couple of years ago the guy that wanted to paint his garage but needed to submit a proposal to the Historical Committiee for review and approval. Forget it! Your homes can sit on the market for years. Cobb can do what he pleases with the property or you can buy it.

All I can say about the great majority of the posts here is, wow. You folks (for the most part) are as bad as the five usurpers on the United States Supreme Court who decided the Kelo decision regarding the city of New London and the issue of eminent domain. How is it the business of a bunch of church lady busybodies or the City of Naperville what Chris does with his own property. Unless I missed something and Naperville suddenly became a communist collective, what Chris Cobb chooses to do with HIS property he LEGALLY purchased after the house was available to the general public (the same disingenuous individuals posting here) for a considerable amount of time, is HIS BUSINESS. There was NOTHING illegal regarding the transaction. You people are petty and small for expressing what I can only surmise is jealousy over someone who works hard and has succeeded in his life. You people need to get a life. I am so glad I no longer live in Naperville and no longer have to deal with the pretentious snobs who reside there. There is no one I know who is more proud of Naperville than Chris and everything he has done in his career has been done with an eye on how to improve the city. You should consider yourselves lucky to have him as a neighbor, and if not I would gladly welcome him as mine.

Let Cobb tear it down.
Let Bryce tear down his house too.
If the house stays and someone buys it, some schmuck will have to be neighbors with these two. That is a fate worse than demolition.

The Code of Ethics and Standards of practice of the National Association of Realtors states:

Article 4
"Realtors shall not acquire and interest in or buy or present offers from themselves, any member of their immediate families, their firms or any member thereof, or any entities in which they have any ownership interest, any real property without making their true position known to the owner or the owner's agent or broker. In selling property they own, or in which they have any interest, Realtors shall reveal their ownership or interest in writing to the purchaser or the purchaser's representative."(Amended 1/00)

Standard of Practice 4-1
"For the protection of all parties, the disclosures required by Article 4 shall be in writing and provided by Realtors prior to the signing of any contract." (Adopted 2/86)

The selling agent, nor the sellers were ever informed that the Cobbs were acting as principals in this transaction until after the article appeared in the Naperville Sun on July 1, 2008.

Fraud by Bernie. Fraud by "the widow". Fraud by Chris.
The contract should be null and void and they should all be prosecuted as someone stated earlier.


You must be under the assumption that the Cobbs have a code of ethics.

I am so embarrassed to say I live in Naperville after reading this! I believe everyone has the right to voice their concerns, but to make personal attacks on people is childish and uncalled for.

This city is full of hypocrites, who wave their swords for some silly things.

The Cobbs have the right to do with their property what they what as long as it meets the cities codes. I do not see what the fuss is about?? The house in question has always been an eye sore, and has never looked good to me. I have lived in Naperville for 15 years and go by this home almost daily and it looks like it is going to fall down on its own. I read that it is an historical home? If so why does it not have status??

This town is a great place to live in and we have much more important things to worry about in the world then what the Cobbs do with their property!!!!!!!

Formal complaints against Bernie Cobb and/or Chris Cobb in the above mentioned matter (in regard to Article 4 and Standards of Practice 4-1) violations need to be made to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation at www.idfpr.com

The Illnois Realtor Board does not have the power to revoke licenses (they would only propose continuing education, issue a warning, impose a fine, or all three). The IDFPR has the power to revoke a license based on codes of conduct being violated.

As an almost life long resident of Naperville (born at Edward, NCHS grad, etc) it is a shame to see the total destruction of Naperville History. I drive down through the older sections of town and don't even recognize them. Even West Highlands, where I grew up, is the hot spot of tear downs. I think the tear down situation in Naperville has gotten out of hand. While the homes built are stunning (and note how many are on the market right now that have been there for over a year...), they lack the character and charm of a town and are indicative of Urban/Suburban gimme/entitlement attitudes. Add to that the value of our properties is now so skewed, that middle class folk can't even live here anymore.

Chris Cobb should not have made the offer to sell if that was not his intent. And to put the whole antics on TV, well, let's make some more money for the Cobbs. Because, for sure they need it.

Where is the city in all this?

People with money can do what they want within the law. It doesn't make them good people or smart people. Chris and his family are doing what they want but the fallout is perhaps not what they expected. I am looking at pictures of the Hammerschmidt house from 1902 when Adolph and Adeline celebrated their golden anniversary. My mother put together a history of the Hammerschmidt family in 1976. This house was a predominant part of it. I thank others who are interested in preserving the past and look forward to meeting 'Laura' another descendant on Saturday morning.
Are all the houses on that block going to look like Chris Cobb's?? Is this what Naperville wants? I hope not.

What I have not heard from all of your comments is a solution. All of you are stating the problem, therefore being part of the problem. If you want change be part of the solution, stand up and buy the house. None of you wanted this house when it was for sale, but now all of you are calling redress. I personally know Chris Cobb and he is a respectable man. Your stories and fairy tales sound like childhood rumors. If you are jealous of a successful businessman state that, instead of defamation.

I don't see any of the bloggers stepping up to offer there $700K plus another half million to preserve the home. What about the fact the sale of the house actually helps out the widow who could not afford the home? I see a relative of the original builder blogged but there is no mention of their family stepping up to shell out any cash either. The Cobbs have the right ti purchase a piece of property and do what they want with it. Are all you people forgetting about our Bill of Rights? Stop begging the city/government to control what you do more.

I live in the Highlands and I see first hand the amount of homes the Cobbs buy, rent out and then tear down.
It would be nice if they care so much about Naperville they would try to perserve it.
They were very well aware of everything they were doing throughout this transaction. You went through great lengths to try and keep your name out of it. I bet you didn't think it would get this much attention, did you? When they do the filming of this show people need to come out in support of this treasure and show this tv program what's really happening here.
I only hope people are true to their word and boycott ReMax and the Cobb team, enough of this family already.
I wish I had the money to purchase the home and rehab it to the beauty it once was. If someone does have the money to do so I think making it a community project for local builders to help with the rehab process would show what Naperville is made of.

As someone who grew up in Naperville, since 1966, this particular house has always been a favorite. When I noticed the sign out front regarding the demolition, I thought it was awful. Naperville should put restrictions on what can and cannot be done in their historic districts just as Aurora has done. People move into these areas because they appreciate the beauty of the old homes and what they have to offer. No matter how 'beautiful' the new house is that replaces the extraordinary home that is currently there, it will be a cheap piece of crap in comparison. If ANYONE would do their research they would find out that the money it would take to rehab or update the current home would be less and a much better investment. If Mr. Cobb thinks he is doing a service to Naperville, he is wrong. Last comment, what goes around comes around. Karma baby!

It is simple Mr. Cobb purchased the property without it being in the historic district thus he has every right to do what he wants with it. The place is a termite nest to begin with. Why was there no out-cry to the previous owners for allowing the house to become run down in the first place? I doubt that the house would meet any city codes and is unsafe to reside in. There is a door on the second floor that opens to nothing because the porch that existed rotted off. The Naperville snobs need to get of their soap box and get a life!

I don't know the Cobbs - and don't know much about this situation beyond the incredible claims made here. But if you folks are all so concerned about this old broken down house, then why not put together some cash and ask Mr. Cobb to take it as earnest money towards buying the property. Form a not for profit organization, buy the property, get your historical designation (and watch the value go down), fix it up and then rent it, sell it at cost or donate it to some civic organization.

Sounds to me like what many of you simply want to do is have a mob action and lynch someone. Seeing as that kind of thing is frowned on these days, the anonymous blogging seems like the only resource left to the upstanding and concerned citizens of Naperville.

Oh MY Lord People...

The Cobb's purchased the home with NO stipulations. Who cares if they want a beautiful side yard or even a side load garage or even a place for a future family to play? Isn't Naperville all about "family"? If the home was THAT important to ANYONE, why didn't ANYONE petition for landmark status prior to the home being sold?

Some people in Naperville just don't know how to mind their own business and let people live. The gossip is unbelievable!

Chris and Susan are good, decent people and others are just taking jabs at them for absolutely no reason. Unless you know them personally, keep your mouths shut and mind your own busimess. If this house is so important to the neighbors, why didn't they purchase it themselves and fix it up. Surely they could all pull together over a million dollars, right?

Get a life people and leave this couple alone. This landmark stuff should have been taken care of long ago if it was so important.

The most recent article quotes Total Wrecklamation's (stupid name,btw)Jodi Muphy as saying that the floors are "spongy" and the house is like "Swiss Cheese". That is complete baloney. In fact, I went through the house when it was listed with Darfler, and the floors were solid--not even sloping as in many old homes. The interior is in far better shape than the exterior. It would be such a shame to tear this down. I'm sure Cobb can't wait to so he can have his sign with his smiling, greedy face on it plastered up there for free advertising for several years while another styrofoam McMansion (or two, I've heard he wants to subdivide the lot) is built.
Another thing I've been thinking about is, isn't this a lovely way to start a marriage? By scamming some old folks into selling what was their pride and joy to someone they never would have sold to if they had know who was behind the purchase? I wish Chris and Susan many happy months together. Here's to the happy couple!!

Nobody wants to see an old house torn down and replaced by a mansion. But I believe that we have some double standards here. Had this home and lot been next to some existing dorms, the college probably would have bought it and replace it with another dorm or a monumental Fine Arts Center. How can you tell a private party, no matter how much you personally dislike them, what to do with their property? Whole blocks have been turned into some very questionable architecture right in the Historic District by the college. And a fat brick mansion now occupies a corner lot in the Historic District featuring even an attached garage. Where are you all when that stuff happens. Chris, I am glad that I am not in your shoes, a lot of folks obviously really hate your guts. Since you don't have much to loose, may be you can work out a deal with NCC. Assemble the whole corner, the college pres will move into the freshly donated Lemak House and we will get another block of dorms right in the best part of town. Then the poor kids don't have to live in the new condos right downtown any more.

I agree with CV_Gas. He purchased it legally! And the contract said nothing that the house was a historic site. If everyone wants it restored so badly, why is it that the people he showed the house too didn't think it was an economically good investment to restore? I know Chris and have seen him countless times giving back to not only family and friends but back to his community and other communities! He definetly has a full functional brain that he does not share with his brother, if he didn't he wouldn't be as successful as he is. He is a well spoken man with nothing but love and good intentions for the city of Naperville. I always thought I loved Naperville and thought it would be a wonderful place to own a home and raise kids, but reading all these posts I have to consider otherwise and am glad I live far away from it all the snobs that live there.

I have a idea - why don't the Robbs oh I meant the Cobbs rehab this home with architectial beauty and charm and live in it themselves. They could tear down their ugly McMansion next door and have a lovely large yard on the west side of their home. That way they could be the center of attention first, by rehabbing this house - and living on the corner instead of being STUFFED into the lot that they now occupy in house that has no charm at all! But I have never seen the Cobbs do any preservation, only quick deals to get their money.

I may be mistaken, but I don't think a code of ethics adopted by a national group is binding law that will stand up in court. Those ethics are kind of like the Pirate's Code...more like suggestions than a real code.

Get a life people!

If this was SO important in the first place, YOU should have bought the place yourself!

Stop personally attacking people you don't even know.

The Code of Ethics and Standards of practice of the National Association of Realtors states:

Article 4
"Realtors shall not acquire an interest in or buy or present offers from themselves, ANY MEMBER OF THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES, their firms or any member thereof, or any entities in which they have any ownership interest, any real property without making their true position known to the owner or the owner's agent or broker. In selling property they own, or in which they have any interest, Realtors shall reveal their ownership or interest in writing to the purchaser or the purchaser's representative."(Amended 1/00)


Way to go Chris! You found a way to get that house for yourself and still remain “ethical” by sending in your fiancé who was technically not a relative yet. Very clever my boy! But how could you trust that she would marry you after she had the house in her name? Did you get that in writing?

dont forget about cobbs front porch rezoning thanx it sticks out like a sore thumb. Im sorry i know him.greedy b!

All these negative comments about the Cobb family are not called for. The ugly house, (more like safety hazard) was purchased because there was no interest from others to buy it. It is their property to do what they please.

What have any of these big-mouthed hide-behind-my-keyboard people done to 'preserve' or repair this house. It has been an eyesore in total disrepair for 30 years. Enough time for people to repair it, I would say. Nothing was done. But people are always envious of success and will do their best to bring successful people down.

Oh, BTW, the person hosting this little joke of a protest was the first person to start removing fixtures from this house. It figures. Just shows the type of person we are dealing with here. Can only thing they can do is to launch personal attacks over the internet.

Don't the high schools in this area still have the trades/vocational departments? Perhaps this home could somehow be purchased (dare it be suggested - donated?) and the high schoolers in the building trades could be put to work rehabbing the home.

Per Melissa's comment at 11:19 am, July 11,2008

How do you know these people don't personally know the Cobbs?

Everyone has the right to their opinion and Blog's are the place to voice it. You can't honestly say the real estate trasaction was ethical! If it were ethical, the fact that the Cobbs would be owners would have been disclosed.

Do the high schools in this area (not just Naperville) still have vocational/trades departments? If this house could somehow be purchased (dare we suggest - donated?), students in these programs could be put to work rehabbing it.

Could this be a solution? Students could learn skills, and perhaps learn to appreciate craftsmanship, history, and architecture.

If the Cobbs could see their way to assist in the process, perhaps they could be seen more as philanthropists rather than destructionists. Maybe some of the builders who've made their windfalls in Naperville could also pitch in, like Ashton. What about the Schillerstroms? They are "old Naperville." Would it hurt them all so much to give a bit here and there? It can't always be about money.

I Agree with the Bed and breakfast idea. That would be ideal for someone to transform and keep the place instead of tearing it down.

If i could buy the place i would and that would be my choice to turn into a B&B.

Please people, Chris Cobb has had every intention of buying this house since he purchased the adjacent lot and built his home 10 or so years ago. That's why the owners didn't want to sell to a Cobb! There was talk years ago about how he had tried over and over to dupe these people, way to go, Chris, you finally did it. I guess that high-priced education your dad bought for you and your brother is paying off.

bernie cobb did not follow ethics rules of his industry
chris cobb did not follow ethics rules of his industry

this is not about echo or neighbors buying the house themselves.
that is a ridiculous statement for anyone to make.

but open your eyes...this was a dishonest transaction from the start.
including the story of a widow buying the house to rehab.

wake up.

Per Cathy's comment at 12:44:

This whole issue isn't about making personal attacks, however many are making it out to be. SAD!

Are you a lawyer? Did YOU personally have ANYTHING to do with the tranaction of this house? I doubt it. Therefore, you have no grounds to comment on that issue.

Yes, blogs are here to let people voice their opinoin. However, when people stoop so low as to comment personally, when this is not a personal issue, it's pretty sad. Naperville is supposed to be a "family" community. I'm embarassed to say I live in Naperville when I see people attacking others when it's totally uncalled for. Jealousy and gossip are rampant in this town and someone needs to stand up and say enough is enough.

Susan was not a member of the family when the transaction took place so therefore, it was totally LEGAL.

Before you attack people, get your facts straight. Or better yet, don't attack at all, speak your mind on the ISSUE instead of bashing perfectly good people. If you have ever met and gotten to know either Chris or Susan, you'd see they are very well spoken, educated people that are kind and caring.

Cobb should be able to do whatever he /she wants to do with the house. Get a life Naperville yuppies. Volunteer at a shelter or
hospital if you have nothing better to do than harrass a tax
paying law abiding ciitzen.

Are you going to tell them next that they can not have a junker car
in their driveway, but only a BMW or Jaguar?

Most of what is discussed here becomes irrelevant. The intention of the homeowners is what is important and what should guide future decisions. The homeowners being the Hammerschmidts had wanted someone to purchase the home and restore it to its natural beauty. If everyone had been honest then this situation would never have happened. Perhaps Mr. Darfler would have filed with the historic group and also Mr. Cobb would have found a buyer who truly wanted to restore the home. People should stand by their word and Susan Wilke Cobb should restore the home which is why it was sold to her in the first place.

It is their house, let them do whatever they want.
Naperville yuppies GET A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What next? Are you goinh to tell them they can not park a junker car in their driveway, only a BMW or Jaguar

Leave them alone...............

Drove by the house yesterday, beautiful details. Saw the online pictures for the interior as well, fine woodworking, stain glass windows are stunning. The kitchen is outdated, no big deal.

Honestly I would purchase it if I had the funds! This home has a lot of potential! It could be a beautiful landmark if someone took the time to care for it.

is everyone numb to lack of ethics and honesty these days. there are rules that applied to this transaction and the whole family was in on the breaking of those rules...that is evident. the buying agent, mr cobb's father broke realtor standards of ethics as written in a above comment. the state of illinois will deal with him on that one. the blatant lie on who the buyer was will be looked at by not only realtor boards but by the state as well. i hope this was worth the potential losing of a license that has been helping families find homes for years. i believe chris cobb and his wife should be able to do what they want with their property, however, the means of acquisition are in question. if you were the seller, or if your grandmother was the seller, and these shenanigans happened to you, would you be happy? would you defend their actions?

Per Melissa's comment at 1:32

I NEVER said the transaction wasn't LEGAL. Can't you READ? I said it wasn't ETHICAL!!!!! The Cobbs knew the owner didn't want them buying the home so they had someone else (Susan) buy it for them. You might want to get YOUR facts straight!

GET A LIFE NAPERVILLE. Put your time and effort into volunteering, helping homelss families or helping to feed the poor.

Do something that benefit people who are relly in need. If you have this much time and energy for something like this, surely you have enough time and energy to mentor a child or help needy families.

Why not come together for a good cause insted of berating a couple that purchased a house that wasn't even in the historical district anyway?

The homeowners being the Hammerschmidts had wanted someone to purchase the home and restore it to its natural beauty.

That is the problem here...everyone seems to want someone else to spend money on restoring the home. If it was important to the Hammerschmidt family, they should have bought and restored the house. Same for all the others here. Many seem gung ho about saving the house, unless they have to spend their own money.

cant we just end this blog if there is nothing more to say.

it has come down to calling names? yuppies? crooks?

this will all be over in a week and forgotten about, that is the way of the world these days.

maybe we are just immune to it all now. politicians lie to us. administrations make up stories to get what they want. reality t.v. is not reality.

take a breath, sign off your computers and try and breathe.

I think you are all missing the big picture story here. This is a love story. A local small town realtor just trying to get by, lonely and looking for love. Would anyone, could anyone love him? Living just off of his paltry commissions? And a girl. A widow, new in town, just looking for quite little place to set down new roots in small town with good values. She finds a house to buy. And would fate bring them together? Alas no, a different realtor is handling the home she wants to buy. A little place close to downtown so she could easily walk to get her groceries or perhaps buy a book to pass her days in her house alone.

What this lonely widow doesn’t know is that the love of her life is living right next store! That’s right. That small town boy, lonely and looking for love, is right next store. But will they ever meet? How will they ever know? But finally fate does intervene and girl does indeed meet boy. Shy friends at first. Talking over the fence. Talking about the latest book they read. Then a few walks. Hand touches hand. And voila! Love blossoms! Was it a coincidence or fate? How wonderful that she was able to pick out the exact right house at the right time. You just never know how love will come about.

Soon they are married and she moves into his house next door. Life couldn’t be any better. But next door her old house remains. A reminder of her old life alone and sad. Seeing it everyday makes her melancholy. Her new husband comes up with a wonderful idea. Let’s demolish that old house. Let’s put asunder our old lonely sad lives and make a big wonderful yard for our family and friends. His wife’s mood perks up almost immediately. She feels that this is the right thing to do. So they schedule the happy demolishion day. But before that day they decide to share the old house with all of their friends and neighbors in the little town. Everyone could come over and take a piece of the house as a wonderful remembrance of their love.

And finally, once the old house is stripped bare, the dozer comes in and wrecks the house to the ground. The wife is crying. Not tears of sadness but tears of joy. Real joy in having found her perfect mate and demolishing that old broken down house. And the happy couple go on and have their family and enjoy their new yard for years and years to come with all of their wonderful neighbors in support.

I really think that NCTV should make a documentary about this wonderful Naperville family just like they have for other well loved Napervillians. I know it would make many in Naperville cry.

This was obviously fraud and one day the truth will come out. If the Cobbs choose to behave with decency they will do the right thing. I am never a fan of degrading someone. They made a mistake that happens to be fraudulant. They will either live with the consequences or rectify the situation. I wish all parties a successful resolution and hope that a beautifully restored home will be standing in the end.

It is quite unbelievable what desperate people will do for attention!

Poor Poor Cathy...

The fact remains that the house was bought legally. You have no idea what is/was ethical in this issue since you had nothing to do with the transaction. All you have is hearsay, so unless you were sitting in on any conversations that anyone involved had, you have no right to comment on the ethics or lack of that might be involved.

That's the fact.

Ken hit the nail on the head.


Why is it that you think everyone is so wealthy and can just buy this property?

It's sad that old mansions like this fall into disrepair and eventually get torn down. I agree with the blogger who was published in today's Sun, We have many many beautiful Queen Anne homes in Naperville and we can't save them all. The worst case scenario is where the tax payers are forced to buy it and restore it. That type of logic is very Illinois and very Naperville. If I don't want condos built in my Neighborhood I simply petition the park commission to buy property from a builder and make it into a park. That way I don't get nearby condos and the taxpayers end up paying for it. If I want a new high school near my house I simply vote to have it built but not on my dime entirely but rather on ALL taxpayers dimes. I get the benefits and other people get the privelege of paying for it. Anyway I say Cobb can do what he wants, although I wonder about this deal being covert.

Let me start me start by saying I have been in Naperville my entire life, 45 years , I have seen all of the changes that have happened to our once small community. I have seen many, many homes ripped down, moved to different lots and newer homes built in place of them. I can understand teardowns, due to the fact that it is sometimes cheaper to build new then to try to fix old.

Let’s remember there was one just like this mansion torn down on the corner of Ellsworth and Jefferson, to build and ugly office building in the 70’s. There were 3 beautiful Italianate ripped to make room for the Naperville Public Library in the late 70’s or early 80’s, and they also needed a lot of work.

Just to mention a few and oh yes let us not forget the Joe Naper’s house founder of Naperville and The Otterpool’s house that sat next door, both or one could have been move to a few different locations, BUT North Central College and Echo (Vince Ory) on the Historical committee, let them get torn down, to build the Art Center. We went to both parties to see if one of those houses could be move to our lot, 4 blocks away with no avail. Such a shame!!!

WAKE UP PEOPLE it is obvious with this mansion there is really no one that is concerned with it’s preservation it is all about economic profit here
I recall in the listing for the mansion that it would be sold to someone that would ”BRING HER BACK TO HER GLORY” and have the plans to do it, as part of the sale. I guess the previous owner was deceived by the person that bought the property; again they will have to sleep at night.

Will Cobb tear it down and then split the lot? Much more profit!

Sad but, I think I am on target here!!!

Chris, just do the right thing, for once in your life! Rehab and sell the house. We all know you have boat loads of cash. If you're looking for a 'bigger yard' I'd suggest moving west...like Yorkville.

Dear Chris Cobb,

You showed a lack of character when you fooled the old lady into selling to your bride, Susan Wilke. Sad for you (and your family's business) that Naperville will forever judge your actions. Do the right thing and restore it as your bride "intended". You will be looked at as a hero! Naperville residents will forgive you. This is a life lesson that will define you. You don't want horrible PR for yourself, bride or the Cobb business!

Your Wright Street Neighbors

Regarding "The Real True Story of Chris and Susan" - bringing the widow angle in is truly pathetic. You obviously don't even know this couple and clearly you haven't lost anyone close to you - least of all a spouse who died young and tragically, as Susan did, and as I have done. Your personal attacks on this couple are callous and petty and frankly it's disturbing that you live among us in Naperville. Get a real cause.

Yes, Ken. We get your point. Over and over and over again.
Between this blog and the other on this subject, many people have said they'd buy this house if they financially were able.

That is my point, Anonymouse 3:43pm. Everyone wants someone else to pay for this house because they do not have the funds to do so. Unless you or someone else lamenting the approaching demise of this house has the money to become the property owner, it is really none of your business what the actual owner chooses to do with his property.


In response to Bryan's comment about Landmark designation lowering the sale value, I would like to mention an article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune on August 15, 2007 about a similar home in St. Charles. “After the owners of the J.K. Lewis house - once home to St. Charles' first mayor – gave up their fight with the [historic preservation] commission, they put up a plaque in their yard signifying its landmark status and received $100,000 more than their asking price…”
Maybe Bryan doesn't know what he's talking about. I had a similar situation several years ago...I'm a real estate agent, too. I had a listing for a property in a Historic District that had been on the market for a week or two. After researching the house’s history, I held an open house advertising it as the JOHN HODDER HOUSE, 1877. Well. The open house was like a stampede. There were so many people coming and going, I lost count. It sold within a few days. It's all about choices. Historic homes aren't for everyone, nor are today's artificial palaces for everyone. That's why it's so important for a well balanced community to have enough of both to survive the inevitable loss through fire and natural disaster so we have these choices for future generations.

I have very vivid memories of the former owner constantly working on the house. There was always a ladder outside with the owner working from the front to back and back to the front until the whole exterior had been painted. He took pride in that house. As we all know, people get older, people lose jobs, life happens! The house has fallen from grace, but does that mean it should be torn down? So that Mr. and Mrs. Cobb can have a side loading garage or a bigger yard? How does that make any sense?! It doesn't and it will look stupid.

I'm all for people being able to do what they want within reason with something they own, but it seems to me that this house is ill gotten gains. I guess that's why there is a need for KARMA in this world.

If I had the money, I would LOVE to buy that house. It has been a wonderful landmark for everyone in this town. What a shame it'll be if it's razed.

P.S. Instead of calling Total Wrecklamation, why not call This Old House, I'm sure major portions are underwritten, so that way Mr. and Mrs. Cobb could keep most of their millions.

By Ken on July 11, 2008 5:26 PM

That is my point, Anonymouse 3:43pm. Everyone wants someone else to pay for this house because they do not have the funds to do so. Unless you or someone else lamenting the approaching demise of this house has the money to become the property owner, it is really none of your business what the actual owner chooses to do with his property.


I'm late to join this discussion and apologize if this point was made, but for those asking why the preservationists didn't pony up $770K for the house and that the Cobbs are respectable:

1) Maybe the house was too expensive. Just like in the East Highlands where the price of houses shot up so much that the only way the price could be considered reasonable was for a teardown. In other words, regular people couldn't justify the prices.

2) Cobb offered to sell the house for his cost. Wow, what a jerk. He paid $770K for the house and now it's dropped in value $200K for $561K (see Zillow.com). So he's willing to pass off his loss to someone else.

3) If you think these guys are respectable, come live in a teardown neighborhood where they buy up the houses and then rent them to anyone, including convicted criminals and Section 8, until they can tear them down. Then when the teardowns start the neighbors have to live with at least a year of noise, disruption, and even health hazards like silicosis from all the stonecutters creating clouds of respirable stone dust - against city code but they do it all the time.

Now when they sell the teardown for $1.2M+ do you think they tell buyers that the neighbors are poor or convicted of homicide? Think again.

Sure, it's all legal, but ethical? Respectable? Not a chance.

Another point, the realtor who managed the deal is really to blame for not ensuring the wishes of the seller where met. He let his customer get duped and probably was aware of the buyer's relationship with Cobb. Again, illegal? No. Unethical? Probably. But he got his big commission on the sale!

It's just sickening. We can't have laws for everything. People should do the right thing because it's the right thing to do by their fellow citizen. This "screw everybody else" attitude has to end.

I am completely amazed at the lack of perspective and sheer ignorance being displayed in this discussion board. I have been a close friend of the Cobbs and Chris Cobb for several years and I do not no anyone that is more committed to his community, who understands the important of community and the value of a home, and has made a meaningful contribution Naperville by helping countless people find thier homes.

This thread about the Cobbs and thier perceived ill intent towards historical preservation and real estate trickery is completely absurd. A person have every right to purchase a hime that is offered for sale, protect his own investment in his home, and make decisions about those investments. This home was not taken care of, was in disrepair for several years, and any homeowner in his right mind living next door to this home would want to resolve this situation.

The house was put up for sale by the owner, a fair offer was made and accepted, and the Cobbs have decided that the house is not worth the time, effort, and cost to renovate. If the community, the town, and the descendants are so outraged...why did they not buy it to preserve? I understand and appreciate the important of historical preservation, etc. but it is the person that has to fund and support this preservation that has the right to make the decision.

If you have so much time on your hands to make character attacks via discussion boards, put your money where your mouths are buy historical houses that go up for sale to save them, raise funds to preserve historical homes, ensure that newly built homes comply with historical architecture standards, etc. and stop taking cheap shots at a genuinely good family. Nothing worse that talk without demonstrated actions


I think you all should be ashamed of yourselves and I am now embarrassed to say that I live in Naperville. I have never seen such childish attacks and it is amazing that you are probably raising children with your views and morals. How dare you attack a widowed woman for purchasing a home. If the owner was so concerned they would have filed for preservation status and most of all not let the property decay like a dead rat in your front yard. You should look in the mirror and put your money where your mouth is and buy the property like Chris is offering. Any other person would have already gone through, Chris should be congratulated for listening to the community and offering you dead beats to put up or shut up. Otherwise mind your business and worry about life's real problems.

I do not believe in slinging mud about others so I am a little concerned about some bloggers dragging in the Cobb family's dirty laundry. I am also concerned about maintaining the integrity of Naperville's neighborhoods. I grew up and still live in this town *for 40 years now) and I say, with some degree of sadness that Naperville has lost that charm for me anyway. Too many McMansions and too many greedy realtors and builders are dozing away the charm of our town. I do not agree with the underhanded way the Widow and her fiance dealt with the previous owner of the Queen Anne in question. It is a lot like another realtor that has been putting out false stories about loving to live in the neighborhood but in reality just buying out desperate older homeowners so they can rent out the home til it is falling down around them and then building a huge McMansion on the property. All the while the neighboring homeowners must put up with an eyesore and then loud obnoxious construction. Just to have a bigger and better home than your neighbor. Not like old Naperville anymore!! What a shame!!

This house had been an eyesore for 20 years! I think alot of these bloggers don't even know what house they are talking about. $500,000.00 would be drop in the bucket. The 70 year old seller is laughing all the way to the nursing home. Leave the Cobbs alone. Nobody else wanted to invest in this dump. You couldn't even start rehabbing for under $1,000,000.00.

Remarks: An extremely rare opportunity awaits an equally unique buyer.Someone who recognizes value, having the resources & vision to restore this stately Victorian in the heart of the college district & just blocks from downtown Naperville.Research completed & estimates to restore this 'lady' back to her glory available to SERIOUS parties.Set on a majestically wooded .36 acre lot.ALL inquiries to Listing Agent!SOLD AS-IS!

these are the exact words from mr. darflur's (sp) mls description. which company was the buyer represented by ? was it perhaps the cobb team ? so who got the 2.5 % commission ? i would agree that the cobb team is most likely pretty sleazy, they have duped their share of us hayseed naperville folk too long. shame on them, however it is up to us to stop using them and fattening their wallets and giving them the opportunity to dupe us even more. shame on us. do something about it, or let the man tear down an old broken house.

Brenda Avalong will only get involved if there is laundry hanging in the yard

From the info found in the recent newspaper articles, it appears that the Mr. Cobb never intended to restore and preserve the house
and that demolition was his sole intent. I'm sure he
was salivating at the thought of making a huge profit
on building a new 5000 sq ft house on a corner lot downtown.

It also appears that the previous owner wouldn't have sold
the house to them had she known she was selling to the Cobbs
who planned to knock it down.

The demolition permit was filed well before this firestorm
started. It's surprising to think he was under the impression
that he could get away with this with no one noticing.

I sincerely hope that a serious buyer comes forth to rescue
the house from the wrecking ball to restore it to it's former

I'm sure Mr. Cobb now realizes that he underestimated
the response to this issue. All he'll be left with now
is a sullied reputation. I wouldn't be surprised if this
causes an enormous loss of business for him.


Are you the owner of that house on Highland that went up in flames? If you are, please rethink who you rent to! According to the Sun, your renter beat and robbed an elderly lady! Did you know this? Thanks.

I am a friend of Chris Cobb and have known him to be a person of honor who has given of his time and effort to good causes. I won't comment on the right or wrong of has he is doing here, because I simply don't know. I just know Chris and I know he is a good person.

Now, when I see all of these attacks above, with very little support or substance, I wonder why these people are saying this.

It's easy to use personal attacks and offer no support. It's easy to repeat those attacks when you have no personal knowledge or proof of the matter. And what is the purpose of these attacks? Does it in anyway offer a solution or remedy for what the supposed true issue is?

Very few if any do. Bravo to those who at least try to offer a solution. More praise if someone steps forward to back their point of view with more than just rhetoric. Let's see what happens.

But, when one uses personal attacks as a way to support their cause, it is a sure bet that they do not have leg to stand on with regards to what the true issues are. Otherwise, why resort to name calling, degrading comments, inuendo, etc.? It's because it's the only thing you can do when you have no other support. It's what children do, which is why this is childish. Most of the above is childish.

If this house is in such bad shape as to require half a million dollars plus of repairs, what kind of rose colored glasses are people remembering the past with that they can not see the eye sore it is now? I've seen the house, I can see that it must have been a nice home, a good house in the past. But what is it now?

If the house has a historical value, why did no one seek until now to have it given Landmark status? Why did no individual or organization seek to restore it before now? Even now, is there an individual or organization willing to come forward and pony up the money to take the house?

To all those people who are suggesting that Chris and Sue use their money to do what you people want, you should all sign a binding contract when you get together on Saturday to do your protest (and hurl insults no doubt, mob mentality will rule). The contract should state that you will collectively make a fair offer to buy the house, take out loans equally to be able to purchase if the offer is successful and to renovate back to its above mentioned "glory," and never sell it, and seek landmark status for it. Tie your money up there for the good of the community that you are calling for.

If you don't do that, then why are you complaining? It's easy to point the finger of shame at someone and then not be willing to do what you are trying to force them to do.

Hypocracy does not even begin to cover the meaning of what some of you are doing.

And for everyone up in arms over this, you would do more good going foward by joining a preservation society or something and look to preserving many of the other historic homes that are in need, before they become the "latest situation." Do that, or just heap more unworthy scorn on Chris.

Which is the better thing to do and which is the easier?


What does who Bryce rents to have anything to do with any of this??? Seriously people...do you have nothing better to do with your time and energy?

I love that the people commenting here are trying to tell someone else what to do with their money. This house was available for sale for months. Nobody put their money up except Mr. Cobb. I love that the family (grand kids) chime in without $$.

As for those of you being very specific as to "Not use Cobb Team" and being very "Nasty" in your comments, you probably should know that this is considered Libel. a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression b (1): a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt (2): defamation of a person by written or representational means (3): the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures (4): the act, tort, or crime of publishing such a libel

You have written into this blog and the newspaper has access to your information. This is also information that can be used in a court of law. I would suggest that you watch what you put in writing as it seems that Mr. Cobb could come after you...and should.

Grow up, put up, or shut up.

Ken's a MORON, all you have really done is show what a moron you are. First, Ken's is possessive, so even your chosen name is moronic. It should have been Ken is a MORON, but since it seems you are the true moron, you couldn't be expected to know about proper use of the English language.

As for your moronic statement, I have never indicated that you or others cannot have your moronic opinions. I have stated, and try to understand this in whatever small part of your brain that actually might function, unless you have the money to buy and preserve this house, whatever the Cobb's decide to do with it is none of your business.

As far as that goes, without money, your opinion, my opinion, and every other opinion on this blog has no real relevance on what will happen to this house.


Why so hostile? You have snapped at Cathy and others, chill out. Go to the beach today.

I agree with those here who say the Cobb team should be boycotted. They've been selling Naperville and then they use Naperville at the same time. This man Cobb bought the house knowing it needed work and then he wants to use TV to make himself famous. For Cobb, a long-time realtor , to say he didn't know it would need this level of work defies belief. He didn't have an inspector go through the house before it was bought? Come on. Plain and simple, he and his friend are users and the whole Cobb Clan has been using Naperville for years. The State of Illinois should revoke the Cobbs' real estate licenses.

Why hasn't someone contacted This Old House they may want to help renovate the mansion to it's glory and keep the precious history of Naperville alive and well. It is such a shame the house was sold to Mr Cobb. He had no intention of renovating the beautiful home and preserving the many hand crafted details of the house. Greed. Greed. Greed. The new logo for the USA. Look what has happened to our lovely community of historical homes. If I had as much money as Mr. Cobb I would renovate the home, call in THis Old House or the dicovery channel or other TV channels. I'm sure Norm would think the demolition of this house is a SIN as much as I do.

I think the Naperville Sun is doing great harm to this community for letting people vent anonymously on your site. I think that the paper has some legal liability for providing the vehicle for this witch hunt.

Shame on the Naperville Sun. You have become a tabloid.

Seems like a lot of you are jealous of the Cobb wealth, they work hard and can do what they want with the money they earn. Only people in Naperville take the time to bash people on the blogs who are making more money than they are. This is about a house and people are talking about his parents and his character. Sad, very sad.

I'd like to address a few things. First of all if Chris Cobb is such a great guy, why didn't he honestly try to buy the property? Instead of covertly sending his fiance without any disclosure of who she was, he should have handled it himself. The answer is it wouldn't have been sold to him. So, basically he used deception to get what he wanted. Secondly, as for why people get up in arms, some of you don't understand old homes and their homeowners. We buy these homes for the history and craftsmanship. They are a big part of the charm of this town and without them Naperville would be any other suburb with cookie-cutter houses and subdivisions. Why should we join a preservation society? We're trying to make a positive impact on our neighborhood right here. Most of us didn't know any of this was going on until a few days ago. I had heard months ago the house was sold to someone who wanted to rehab it. I only saw a for-sale sign for a couple of weeks and it was taken down. I assumed, like many others it was off the market. So, it is not fair to say it sat for months without an offer.
As to putting our money where our mouths are, many of us have done that. That's why we bought the homes we did. We have already done the same kind of work and many neighbors are actively searching for a buyer. What is Chris Cobb doing? I think the problem is the bottom line for him seems to be money. And for many of the neighbors, that has never been the case. No one has a problem with him wanting a big house and yard. Why does it have to be here? He can go to any number of subdivisions and get what he wants. The historic homes began this neighborhood and they deserve to be saved. I agree that personal attacks are counter-productive. But many people in this town don't seem to understand the attachment that many have to these homes. That's why we chose to live here. We're trying to keep one small part of Naperville unique.

Even at $800k plus another $800k for renos, that mansion would be a prized property when restored. It's a "real" Mansion, not a McMansion... With all the money and builders in this town, I can't believe someone isn't stepping up to restore this Victorian.

To historichomeowner.
You are right on target with all that you have stated what an intelligent response and opinion. I can only say that the community is in an uproar because of the deceitful way this home was purchased. I guess some people have lost their morals, values and word of honor. Again the Cobbs will have to deal with ALL of the ramifications this has created for them.

I believe as a homeowner you should be able to do anything you want to do with your property.

HOWEVER TO DECIEVE some elderly lady TO GET THIS HOUSE IS A TOTALLY different story!
I believe she was so happy and grateful to THINK this “Victorian Lady” was going to be restored and the new homeowners would love it as much as her and her family did, she must have been ecstatic. Now think of what she is going through, how devastating for her, and her loved ones! I am sure regretting what she did, and feeling guilty about it. How sad for her.

Again, it is just a sad situation for all involved as well as the community.

Despite all the speculation... teardown, rehab, split the lot, new side yard, ethics violation, subterfuge, etc.... what really strikes me as really, really odd is how the entire Cobb family has handled this situation.

Most small businesses work overtime to protect their good name and reputation. I'm sort of at a loss to think of a better way to harm one's good name and business reputation than how this whole scenario has played out to date.

Before he looses all credibility in this town, and most likely permanent harm to the family business along with it, Mr. Cobb would be well advised to come clean and at least state for the record what his intent was and is because the timelines dug up by others sure don't seem to add up to what Mr. Cobb has been telling us.

If there is a good side of this story the Cobb family needs to tell it and fast. The economy is in the dump, a recession is looming, homes are not selling, and builders do not have enough work. The real estate businesses is cut throat even when house sales are booming. Right now every real estate agent is looking to steal anyone else's business. This just gives all the other real estate agents cause to all gang up on the Cobb family. If that happens the Cobb family real estate business is doomed and with one less player in the field those who survive have more to split among themselves.

Sadly the Cobbs made themselves an easy mark because of how they announced and packaged all of this without fully considering how the community would react. Now they have jeopardized their entire business future and the game is simply survival.

It will be interesting to read the next chapter of this story as well as to see how many more chapters remain, if any.

I love the fact that this town has finally reached its limit of being intimidated and bullied by people who lack character. In years past, this community didn't stick up for itself. This time it is. And I love it. Save this old historic home and knock down the overbuilt, out of place mansion next door... and use it for a side yard... No one would protest. Trust me.

Responding to John's quote from 10:30am: "Nobody put their money up except Mr. Cobb."

Actually, it wasn't Mr. Cobb it was Ms. Wilkie, the single woman from Chicago who put her money up.... Oh yeah, that WAS Mr. Cobb. Oops, nevermind.

Ken, please move to Wheaton!

your july 11, 2008 at 1:32...
"susan was not a member of the family when the transaction took place"

since you know so much, do you want to check the date on the marriage license?

I believe this is at least the fourth article Mike Mitchell has written on different community issues that no one would write before. Is he new at the Sun? He's obviously unafraid of talking to the powers that be. Even then I look forward to more reports from his direction. The Sun needs that shot in the arm.

This blog proves how much people need it.

JO, moving to Wheaton would not change my opinion that people should be able to do whatever they want to with their property. By the way, which historic house with restrictions placed on it by busybodies do you live in?

Unfortunately, Susan was a member of the Cobb family on the date of the transaction (closing). She and Chris were married on November 17, 2007. The closing was in December. I can't believe noone's googled him and his wedding, yet. It should have been revealed that she was engaged to a realtor. That is deception.

Want to know what will really happen? Things will quite down very soon. The City Council will approve the demolition permit and the old house will be torn down. The lot will look like nothing was ever there. New McMansion will be built on the lot and sold. The Cobbs will make lots of money off of the entire transaction. Cobb’s realty business will continue just fine. We will hear nothing more about it.

Unfortunately the law is on Mr. Cobbs side. He (or his wife) own the property outright. They can, as owners, do anything they like with the property. Regardless of how the property was acquired the only thing that counts is what is written down. Despite whatever may have or not have been said and regardless of what the real intent was he has got the paper. And there is virtually nothing to be done about it.

This may be a cynical viewpoint but it is a real viewpoint. Having had the experience of talking to many business owners over the years both big and small I have come to the conclusion that you cannot trust any of them beyond what is in writing. And even then you have to be careful. Don’t get me wrong, I have met a few business people that are genuinely honest and care about the customer. But that is very few and far between. Most believe that if the customer would lose in civil court and that they could not be convicted of anything criminal then they have not done anything wrong.

This is where we are with the Cobb story. He (or they) have done nothing technically wrong. They could not be successfully sued and they have done nothing criminal. They, and other business people, see themselves as just being good businessmen. Making an investment and protecting their investment. And they cannot understand how or why anyone would be upset by what they have done and what they want to do. And no amount of words or actions can ever convince them otherwise.

Chris Cobb is a young, successful, well-spoken, intelligent man. It is sad to read these blogs degrading Chris and his wife, as they are extremely nice people. Chris has worked very hard to be where he is today and this blog berates him for it.
I feel that Chris and his wife are doing positive things for Naperville. Naperville is a beautiful city because of people like Chris. Chris lives on Chicago in an absolutely beautiful house. Chris built/re-built his own house while keeping the community in mind. He did not build a modern mansion that does not fit in; he built a lovely house that not only fits in but adds value to the neighborhood. People marvel when they walk/drive by.
I believe that the previous owners could have listed this house as Historic if they so chose. Since they did not choose to do so, it is not anyone else’s place to say what Chris and his wife can do with their new purchase.

I am all for success and making money, but not for deceiving your elderly neighbor by duping her into selling you her historic home to "a single lady from Chicago with a history of rehabbing historic buildings" who happened to be your wife -- the woman you married on November 17th (per the last person's Google tip - "Chris Cobb marriage") so that you can tear it down for a side yard.

Cobb filed for the demo permit in late May? Sent notice to a few neighbors a few days after? Only then did he start his PR machine to try and pretend like he was trying to sell it if someone would pay him $770,000. Appears he only told a small number of people until the July 1st article in the Sun. By then he had only a week or so to wait until his pre-demo auction. After that noone would bother trying to save the historic home. Things looked good for Chris's demo plans.

But then, the media caught wind of the story, the rest of the neighborhood got fired up, and ever since Cobb has looked like a complete jerk. His latest price is apparently over $800,000. or so it seems from today's article.

I have zero sympathy for Chris. I can't imagine that he sees nothing wrong with what he has done. Before someone saw the internet site about his Nov. 17th wedding, it looked like his and his broker's only defense to the ethics claim was a technicality -- that he wasn't quite married when the deal closed. Since that looks to be gone, I'd think the ethics complaint will be a slam dunk.

I don't think most people question that Chris is young and successful and smart. That isn't the point. The point is that he deceived his elderly neighbor and the entire community and has not fessed up. If he would come out and admit what he did was wrong he could start to repair his damage. Without that, his PR blitz is just pissing people off. Everybody screws up sometimes. He screwed up here, buy screwing over his neighbor and the community. Just admit it and face the music.

You know, Ken, in Naperville you really can't just do whatever you want with your property. Check with your busybody HOA.

If any of the O'Neills are reading this, this information may be useful. In contract law, contracts entered due to fraudulent misrepresentation are voidable by the innocent party. If one party induces another to enter a contract by asserting information that he or she knows is untrue, the innocent party can void the contact if she justifiably relied on the fraudulent misrepresentation. This is known as fraud in the inducement.

If this is what happened, get a lawyer. Get the contract voided, sue for damages, and put the house back on the market - this time with landmark status.

For Mr. Darfler: unless quoted incorrectly in the SUN today, you referred to some article in the relator code of ethics as law. Sorry, it is not law. It is a code of professional ethics. The Illinois Revised Statutes IS LAW in this state. Your comment referring to the nature of the sale as being against the law is incorrect. That is the point. Frankly, after reviewing the entire code of ethics on line, we would not agree that the sale or conduct by the parties is unethical. We would suppose if it were, a complaint would have been filed by you. You have not filed such a complaint because we suppose YOU know the etics code was not breached. I also think that Mr. Cobb has been the victim of violations of his civil rights. You can make a greater argument that he has been libeled by a number of people on this blog rather than he broke the law or ethics code in regard to the purhcase of the home. We encourage Mr. Cobb to seek the advise of a litigation law firm specializing in constitutional law. A federal law suit would enable him to subpoena information from the blog publisher, (The Sun) IP addresses of posters could be discovered and he could proceed from there. Aside from the numerous libelous posters, two other civil rights tort feasor targets are emerging. The first is the neighbor who filed the petition to have the home declared a landmark. This neighbor does not own the home, would have no fiduciary interest in the property and purposely depriving the owner (Cobb) of his property without permission or legal standing deprives the owner use and enjoyment of his property without a legal foundation for doing so, ultimately damaging him. The second is the City of Naperville. To hold his demolition permit until the landmark status matter has been resolved could be considered a violation of due process and equal protection under the law. It is clear that there are a number of people (with NO vested interest in the property) have and will in the future infringe on his civil rights. He can bet that the City of Naperville, East Central Homeowners Organization, and Historic Preservation Commission will do so too. Finally, we question that this home is of ANY historical significance. Because it is 125 years old or something and was owned by some industrialist is significant? What about the Kroehler house? Why is it allowed to become what it is? Is it not equally significant historically?

Clarification of my prior post: My last blog was not new facts, just a try at piecing together what was published in the newspaper articles by the people who were involved in this sale. The part about the seller being a woman claiming to have rehabbed similar buildings was from today's paper.

It seems like the News coverage has done a pretty good job of letting everybody get their stories out. My post was just a commentary on the stuff already published. I will shut up now...

No "boycott". No one should be using these blogs to encourage a "boycott" of any person or business. We are all grown-ups and can decide who we want to use as real estate agents independently.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING PUBLIC NOTICE is hereby given to all interested persons that a hearing will be held with the City of Naperville Historic Sites Commission, 400 S. Eagle Street, Naperville, Illinois, 60540, to consider a request by the petitioner, Friends and Neighbors Living in Downtown Naperville, whose address is 231 S. Wright Street, Naperville, Illinois, 60540, for a designation of a historic landmark for property located at 432 E. Chicago Avenue, Naperville IL 60540. The owner of the property is Christopher Cobb, whose address is 424 E. Chicago Avenue, Naperville IL 60540. This application is filed as Historic Sites Commission Case #08-15 and may be viewed at the office of the Transportation, Engineering and Development Business Group, located at 400 S. Eagle Street, Naperville, Illinois. A public hearing will be held on said application before the Historic Sites Commission in the City Council Chamber, 400 S. Eagle Street, Naperville, Illinois on Thursday, August 7, 2008, at 7:00 p.m., at which time the Historic Sites Commission will hear the evidence presented on this matter and other such matters as may properly come before the Commission. Comments, if any, to said application may be submitted in writing and filed with the Transportation, Engineering and Development Business Group or the City Clerk's office before the hearing, or may be offered verbally at the hearing. Questions may be directed to the Planning Services Team at (630) 420-6694. Pam LaFeber City Clerk Publish: July 14, 2008

In the article today, Mitchell writes that Mr. Cobb has been trying to sell the home for four months. How is the home being listed? Has it been listed on the MLS? Is there now a For Sale sign in the front yard of the house? I'm concerned that the house isn't being marketed well enough.

I agree that the media has done a decent job of getting both sides of this story out there, but we still need more facts and fewer personal attacks...

The timeline on this is confusing. If someone could put together a simple summary of the dates involved it might help with the discussion. For example, important dates would seem to be when Susan Wilkie signed the contract to buy the home, when Susan and Chris got married (if they had a ceremony and delayed formal filing of marital status, both dates would seem relevant), when the deal closed, when the Cobbs filed their permit to demo the property, when (if ever) the property was re-listed by the Cobbs on MLS, when the Cobbs first contacted Discovery Channel or the auction company for the pre-demo auction, when the pre-demo auction date was first announced, when the landmark petition was filed, etc.

Other facts that the reporter could explore: Chain of title (Did Ms. Wilkie sign at closing and take title in her maiden name? Did transfer title over to Chris later?) Ms. Wilkie's past rennovation history - Did she really rennovate another old building in the past?

I don't know the answers to those questions, but the reporters could ask the people who do so that we have more facts and less guessing. And if the people involved don't want to answer those simple questions, that should be reported as well.

you stated' "No one should be using these blogs to encourage a "boycott" of any person or business"

I am


I just took a look at the wedding information on line. It does makes them so much more human and compassionate than what is portrayed here.

If no one broke the law, let them do what they want (within the law)to 'their' property and don't boycott anyone.

To: glock 22

Exactly who are the "we" you keep speaking of? Your post reads like a legal brief. Are you suing Mr. Darfler or something? Are you suggesting another civil rights lawsuit against the city ala Mr. Furstenau? Sounds like you are doing a little ambulance chasing, trying to drum up a big money client. What’s the deal?

The Real Story,

We will all have to wait and see if your first paragraph predictions are even close to what really happens as this story continues to play out.

As to the rest of your comments it is good to see Mr. Cobb still has at least one friend in this town, goodness knows in the days and weeks ahead he will need as many as he can muster.

The only real fallacy with your argument is that those people who disagree with what has been done, how it has been done, or what may still be done could care less about what may be "legal" or what may be within Mr. Cobb's "right" to do. That is called the court of public opinion and he is being judged by his community, not a court of law.

Mr. Cobb isn't one of the many faceless, unknown people residing in one of the many McMansions in Naperville. Rather he does his best to maintain visibility of his own name and the family business name as his financial well being depends upon it greatly. People who disagree will not give him their business, either as sellers or buyers nor will they refer anyone to him. They will also bad mouth him to anyone who will listen for years to come. People who agree with Mr. Cobb or don't have an opinion won't do much of anything. That just the hard facts of how human nature reacts in situations like this.

The real estate business is famous for depending upon reputation, connections, referrals, etc. If you shoot yourself in the foot and cut off your business supporters it is pretty much the sounding of a death knell for any small family owned business.

A smart businessman never does anything to bring any kind of negative publicity to his business and works overtime to avoid it at all cost. Sometimes things just happen. That is when a true business leader has the opportunity to step to the plate and make things right. Now Mr. Cobb's challenge is to make things right in the eyes of the entire Naperville community. And the community is watching this very closely.

Times are tough. Mr. Cobb may even have to take somewhat of a financial hit to make this right in the eyes of the community. If he is smart it will be money well spent to protect his future business interests. God help him and his family business if he proceeds with his demolition permit. Sometimes you can be right and still be dead wrong. Hopefully Mr. Cobb understands the difference.

If Mr. Cobb doesn't step up to the plate quickly and make this right I have my own prediction that by Thanksgiving there won't be much left to celebrate in the Cobb household and there may even be a few empty seats around the family dinner table.

It truly would be a shame to see someone so young and full of potential to flame out this early in life and become a pariah in their own town.

I had a realtor friend check the MLS. That house has not been on the MLS since the O'Neils were selling. That house has not been marketed to sell since the Cobbs purchased it.

Wow, I love the passion, but the personal attacks? I've known Chris for 20+ years, and I'm proud to say he is my youngest sons godfather. I will not comment specifically on this issue, because I simply don't know enough about it, (like most of you on this blog) but I'm confident it wasn't about greed. Chris and Susan are really terrific people, and I'm very blessed to have them as friends. Why hasn't anyone talked about all the hours Chris has volunteered at the local high schools teaching (Naperville's) young adults leadership skills and helping them "think big"? It is much easier to tear people down, but that will help nobody.

Tim C.

Chris, Susan, and the Cobb family:
You have a lot of friends that support you.

My "no boycott" rant had nothing to do with my opinion of what happened here. I just don't like the idea of encouraging others to gang up on someone. Everyone can make that decision on their own.

By the way, I have made that decision on my own. I don't know or care if this was "legal". In my opinion, this is about treating a long-time member of this community, who also was their next door neighbor, with honesty and respect. They didn't follow that basic rule of community morality with Ms. O'Neill and for that reason I think they were wrong. I am inspired by so many people coming together to stick up for Ms. O'Neill, for this community and for this old historic home.

But I still disagree with the "boycott" advocates. We can all make our own decisions independently about who we choose to do business with. No need to gang up on people.

I agree with the posting by Real estate marketing. I see nothing on MLS showing this property has ever been listed by Cobb. The Sun printed at least a couple times in these stories that Cobb had "listed" the property in June. What does "listed" mean if not MLS? At the rally Saturday, someone asked him why it wasn't MLS listed and he gave a vague answer that no one seemed to understand. Can the Sun follow up on this? To sell it, you need to tell people that it is for sale, and what the price is. Even the asking price isn't clear. Am I missing something? If he is so concerned about finding a buyer, and fast, then why isn't he doing what pretty much any realtor would have done first? And why does the Sun let him keep saying that he is listing the home and trying hard to sell it when it looks like he has never listed it to begin with?

I have known Chris Cobb for many years and have gotten to know Sue Cobb in the last few years. Chris and Sue are very nice people that are being unfairly portrayed.

I have seen Chris help not only organizations, but put up his personal money to help members of organizations that needed a helping hand. I have only known Chris to be an ethical person that does the correct thing. By the way, Sue is an incredibly good person that would help anyone.

I went to the supposed teardown/auction on Saturday to see what all of the noise was about. Many protesters may have been disappointed to learn that they had no reason to be there. There was no teardown or auction and Chris addressed the group. Chris made a very fair offer to sell the property, with landmark status, and asked the group to help him recoup his expenses.

Anyone who could not see Chris's, genuine attempt to resolve the situation, likely doesn't want to see the truth.
Bill W.

I just went by the mansion today on the way home from work. And it seems odd to me one of the pillars in front has been broken and wood is missing now at the bottom. I think to make the house look in a worse condition then it really is. My suggestion is that someone goes over there and starts taking pictures and may be take them every other day to see if things are being done to the house.

There was not that damage in the front a week ago.

Lets ones mind start to wander or wonder,

To all the Chris Cobb supporters,

Hearing your glowing praise of Cobb and his wife is nice. Now do Chris a real favor. Call him and ask him to please log on and to do it fast. He needs to personally tell his side of the story. People need to hear it from him firsthand because what others say simply doesn't count for much.

The longer Chris waits and procrastinates he only gives the negative rumor mongers more time to spin more stories about what he may have done or what his motives may be. And if he doesn't address the issue head on then the stories will likely get even worse.

To Robert J. Rada,

We invite you to clean up your post (remove the four-letter words) and resubmit it for consideration.

To follow-up on my post regarding the listing of the home, I'd like to suggest that Chris Cobb disclose the price and stipulations for the sale.

From what I understand from someone who spoke directly with Chris, the home is offered at $805,000, which is the $775,000 that his wife paid for the house, and associated closing costs and other costs to "maintain" the house.

They require $50,000 earnest money, and that the house will be sold with landmark status. Also the home must be paid for in cash, with no contingencies for financing, etc.

I suggest that the Naperville Sun confirm this with the Cobbs and publish it as soon as possible. A potential buyer should have this information.

Thank you.

the glock 22 fires back to anonymous 7/14/08 12:00pm-I'm not an attorney nor an ambulance chaser. I'm simply a resident of Naperville since 1961. We (a certian style of writing, don't care if you approve or not) are appalled by some of the comments about a person who has lived in this community also for a long time. I would oppose anyone who treated any of you the way some of you have treated Cobb. There are laws to protect people from the sort of downright NASTY remarks and allegations many of you have made. One idiot posted some rubbish about a few empty chairs at the Thanksgiving table. ARE YOU NUTS? People who were raised in Naperville when I was were not taught to behave in the way many of you do. You are like toddlers with keyboards. Since there is no community moral fiber in that area a Naperville based upon a number classless posts, laws to protect people are more important now. Don't know the Cobbs, don't remember their name and have no particular position for them or anything against them. We do have a dis-taste for many of you recent emigre who now reside in the historic district. I find you to be self centered, progressive types who think you are more intelligent than others. Many of you are merely university trained idiots. Your selfish, ego driven, self centered life styles were best manifested to me in the Lemak matter. I will never forget that manifestation of the aforementioned. Go back to Streeterville, Boston, New York or wherever you came from. We will get along fine without your brilliance and you wierd sense of community as we did before you brought your irritating personalities here. Ignore this nonsense; answer my question. What is the historic significance of this house? Why is the Kroehler mansion not a historic home? It is within the historic district yet none of you have done anything to butt into that business. Why not?

To Bill W. and the Cobb's other friends,

While I'm sure the Cobb's have a number of friends in town, I have a real problem with this as reported in the Sun on Sunday.

Gene Darfler, the Realtor who represented the O'Neill family in the sale last December, said that is besides the point. He contends he was misled by Wilkie, who was represented by Chris Cobb's father, Bernie Cobb Sr., in the sale.

"It's not my intent to debate what they do with the property," Darfler said Friday. "It was how the transaction took place. They broke the law, according to Article 4 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of practice of the National Association of Realtors that states full disclosure of all acting principals in the transaction.

"Bernie Cobb Sr. came to me and told me that he had a client that had previously renovated buildings like the one at 432 E. Chicago Ave," Darfler said. "Never once did he tell me or my clients that she was engaged to Chris Cobb, his son. She was acting as a front. That's illegal. The biggest issue, for me, is the integrity of the deal."

It seems clear that the Cobb's hoodwinked an elderly women to get what they wanted. Perhaps it's legal, perhaps not, but regardless, it stinks to high heaven, and certainly shows a lack of integrity and ethics, otherwise what was the need for the subterfuge of having Cobb's fiancee make the purchase?.

The Cobb's may yet succeed in their desire to tear down the mansion, but their reputation which is already showing some signs of wear, will be in tatters if they do so. Long standing residents such as myself have very long memories, and know a lot of people in this town. We will not forget.

Wow…I agree Chris definitely misjudged the situation, he misjudged the hatred and anger from some Naperville residents. I have been friends with Chris since we played NYFL football together when we were 11. The Naperville that we played football in and the one some of you believe you are referring to is long gone. I don’t remember the loud cries for “darling old Naperville” when the Sports Bowl and half the block was torn down for the great modern Borders goliath at the corner of Chicago and Washington. I’ll bet some of you drove your shiny new Lexus down there today and had a cup of Starbucks or whatever modern processed crap they sell and never realized what was once there…Or where were you protesters when the old Bob Hoarsley’s was torn down ( again with half the block) when that tribute to old quaint Naperville was built called Sullivan’s Steakhouse…why I bet Joe Naper himself would be seen sipping a glass of some ‘98 Cabernet at the piano bar if he were alive today…..no, no protests …I am sure many of you felt it was a tribute to the great town you live in.

I don’t know the details of the deal, nor do I care ..really it is none of my business. Someone had a house for sale and someone else bough it. The seller, or “victim” as some have said, must have gotten a price they agreed with or they would not have sold it. I would assume they are glad they sold it when they did based on how badly the market has turned. Probably would have been tough to sell a house in that shape…does the seller want the house back???? Have any of you asked them??

What I do know is that there has always been a lot of anger and jealousy towards the Cobb’s for as long as I have known Chris. It seems as though all those people are writing on this blog. I do not know the history or the source of this bile but I do know how the Cobb family has treated me my whole life. I am proud to say that they are some of my dearest friends and I will always cherish their friendship.

Chris and Sue, you both know you are good and decent people and your friends and family all feel the same way about you, really what else matters. These people do not know you and have no basis for these personal attacks. I would like to think that the old Naperville that they believe this house represents would have treated their neighbors differently, but we will never know…. that Naperville is obviously long gone…..

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, Charlene O'Neill did not actually sell the house and she does not know what is going on now. Her sister and her husband held power of attorney and signed the papers. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-naperville_mansion_tiffjul12,0,3999423.story

For some reason, the article also quotes Susan Cobb as saying that the Cobbs did not intend to sell the house to a developer or build a larger house on the property; they just planned to sell it for the same amount they paid. This makes no sense. Why would you buy something only to sell it months later for the same price, and then not even list it for sale? If only they would sell it for a present value, I would seriously consider buying it - the only problem is the $30,000 per year taxes.

Also, I have been inside the house and there is no way that it will cost even $500,000 to restore it (this cost must take heated floors, sauna, jacuzzi tub, etc. into account). It is solid and level. You cannot even hear the Chicago Ave. traffic when you stand inside the front door. The basement is dry. The main problem is the woodwork outside, which is unfortunate because that is what people see first. This does need to be addressed, but the cost is not prohibitive.

To Rudy.

That "old Naperville" you speak of is sick and tired of being taken advantage of. Are you saying that it's OK to dupe people? The sale price has nothing to do with this, what it does have to do with is that the seller was seemingly lied to by the buyers....is that ever OK? What if it had been your mother and father? Or your grandparents? Would you still blame it on "old Naperville" being gone? Your friends the Cobbs have played a role in changing Naperville, some good, some not.

I don't know how you can compare The Sports Bowl and Bob Horselys which were probably built in the 50's with a beautiful gem built in the 1890's? Talk about apples and oranges. I think you can bet your bottom dollar that if they tried to tear down any of the other "historic buildings" downtown the citizens of Naperville would be outside picketing and raising heck.

Your question, does the old owner want the house back? They probably do, only so that when they turn around and resell it they will sell it to someone who agrees to a written contract stating that they will rehab it and not tear it down.

Anger towards the Cobbs? For sure. Jealousy? Not so much. I don't think many people are jealous of a family that would seemingly pull the wool over someones eyes just to get what they want.

I know a lot of people that know, have worked with or for the Cobbs and the majority don't have a lot of nice things to say. I'm not going to use this blog to tell tales out of school...you and all of their friends need to know that they aren't perfect. No one is.

glock 22:

I understand that your just a simple resident of little ole Naperville since 1961 with a “certain (sic) style of writing” such as “civil rights tortfeasor targets” and the simple down home “This neighbor does not own the home, would have no fiduciary interest in the property and purposely depriving the owner (Cobb) of his property without permission or legal standing deprives the owner use and enjoyment of his property without a legal foundation for doing so, ultimately damaging him.” .

But it sounds like some of that “brilliance” and “weird sense of community” from those recent émigrés who now reside in the historic district with their “selfish, ego driven, self centered life styles” may have rubbed off on you somehow along the way. Because I am college educated from a big city and that is a pretty complicated style of writing even for me.

Kudos to you Rudy; Very well done!

I've had the misfortune of knowing the Cobbs and have nothing nice to say about any of them. The very first comment on this blog hits the nail on the head.

Thank God we live in America and have the right to speak our minds.

A quick note to bloggers out there. I spoke with the Mangers, who have power of attorney for their sister, Charlene O'Neill. I was asked by the Mangers not to talk to Charlene about the story because she would be crushed if she found out the building was being demolished or fixtures potentially auctioned off.

I was told that since her husband, Dan, died last fall, she's had a hard time letting the property go. So, the Mangers told me they had not yet informed their sister and asked that no one tell her because it would be too much of an emotional burden considering the house encompasses much of her memories and she is residing in a nursing home.

According to the Mangers, the O'Neills never had any children.

I honored the request.

That's why I never spoke with the previous owner directly. I'm not sure how the Mangers are reacting to the Tribune informing Charlene O'Neill.

By the way, I don't have an opinion on this story. I'm only clarifying a matter for you bloggers out there.

Mike Mitchell
Staff reporter
Naperville Sun

From reading the Chicago Tribune article it looks like Sue and Bob Mangers may be able to join Mr. Cobb et al on the legal hot seat.

From what has been reported previously it sounds like not only has Mr. Cobb possibly violated the code of ethics for real estate professionals but he very likely may have committed an even more serious offense under the Real Estate License Act of 2000. Since the Real Estate License Ace establishes legal responsibilities of licensees there is another strong likelihood that the actions taken may segue into an even more serious violation not only for Mr. Cobb but also for Sue and Bob Mangers considering the age of seller. Her reported ill health will not bode well for either of their cases either.

Especially considering that Illinois State Law takes a very dim view of financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability. In fact, the law protecting the elderly provides for specific protection in cases where deception, misrepresentation, or concealment of material facts can be proved. The law also holds those with a fiduciary responsibility in such transactions to an even higher standard than others when dealing with an elderly person.

If the owner is not of sound judgement (as in the Mangers having power of attorney) this could indeed get really messy. What has transpired may be of significant interest to both the Office of the Attorney General as well as the Office of the State Guardian.

Seems that everyone who had a hand in this real estate transaction better make darn sure they dotted all their i's and crossed all of their t's or they may have some really, really serious charges coming their way. Financial exploitation of the elderly is a felony ranging from a Class 3 up to a Class 1 depending upon what transpired and by whom.

The very first question will be to determine the fair market value of the home on the date of the transaction. If there is cause to believe the home was sold below fair market value or if the owner was deceived in any way during the transaction the civil liability provisions of the statue provides for treble damages of the value of the property obtained plus attorney fees and court costs.

How good of a deal is this looking to be now Mr. Cobb?



It is an actual Sun article from February 3, 1966 about this home and Mr. and Mrs. O'Neill's rennovation of it. Among other quotes:

"It is refreshing to discover a young couple so dedicated to restoring one of the town's landmark homes to its original dignity. Those bystanders, who believe that progress is not always achieved by razing buildings of a bygone era, will surely applaud the O'Neills' efforts."

Could this be more timely? This says it all, really. About this historic landmark home, about the former owners' dedication to preserving it while they were physically able, and about what the RIGHT answer is on this issue.

After reading this, ask yourself these questions:

- Did Ms. O'Neill deserve to be informed that the buyer presenting herself as a single woman from Chicago with a history of rennovating other buildings was really the wife of the real estate agent / developer who lived next door?

- Is the Cobbs current offer to resell the home for the price they paid for it,with $30,000 of "carrying costs" tacked on, with a requirement of a $50,000 non-refundable deposit, with no contingencies, a "generous offer" to give back to the community?

- Is this home really a "landmark" worth saving? (as it was referred to in this article more than 40 years ago)?

Please show up on August 7th at 400 S. Eagle to speak to the Historic Sites Commission about the importance of restoring this historic landmark home.

And keep looking for the right buyer to undertake this project. Let's make this happen.

That is great journalism. Made me feel like I was back in 1966 for a moment (but sober)... This home will be bought soon. I can feel it.

^^^^Above ^^^^^ What a beautiful article in the Sun about the mansion, and quite a bit of history too! The former owners really loved that house. It's a shame it might be lost!

I moved to Naperville 9 yearsago because I love the small town community. But things have changed, we have high end shops, restaurants, giant parking decks...

Miss the smaller quaint shops that had to move out because they can't afford the rent or taxes. Naperville has changed and not for the better.

Can understand we people are fighting to save the small bit of history that is left in this town, it is disappearing quickly.

For Glock 22 –

Very interesting pseudonym. I like your weapon…I mean name…of choice.

I’ve stated in the past that it would be nice to see the house stay; however, I mostly agree with your post form July 13 @10:27 PM.

Some of what you wrote on July 14 @ 9:53 PM was less interesting. Especially when you stated that you were “…are appalled by some of the comments about a person who has lived in this community also for a long time”. So if Cobb were a short-timer it would be OK to abuse him in this blog?

You also said you “…have a dis-taste for many of you recent emigre who now reside in the historic district” and went on to call them “self centered”, “idiots”, “selfish”, “irritating”, and “ego driven”. Just an FYI, but your personal attacks and obvious animosity detract from the arguments you previously made.

Your statement that you have lived here since 1961 along with your animosity towards the newcomers gives you the appearance of being just another entitled “old” Naperville resident. Pretty much the same people you derided in your last post.


T.B. wrote in response to Glock 22:

"...however, I mostly agree with your post form July 13 @10:27 PM."

T.B. as a respected (by me, anyway) frequent blogger, I hope your agreement did not extend to his attempt to intimidate critics of the Cobbs by accusing them of "libel" merely for expressing a negative opinion.

Glock 22 - I don't care if you have been in Naperville since 1861 unless you have the deed to the entire city, you don't own it.

Maybe you've been here too long. You could move south, the weather is nicer!

Glock 22 reloads again: to Anonymous 7/14/08 12:00pm. Your first sentence: "Your" is the wrong word choice. It should be either you're or you are. So much for the big college education. Glad to hear you are not a 203 or worse, 204 graduate since they spend more $ on government education. TO TB: have two, one service model and one ported. You are also right about some of the problems with my comments. But the Realtor Code also requires that if a realtor is aware of a violation of the code by another party, he or she is required to report the violation. As far as I know, no such complaint has been filed. Has Mr. Darfler violated the code by failing to report his allegation that Cobb violated the code? But the question remains on the table. Why is this house so important and the Kroehler mansion was and is allowed to languish even though it is IN the precious historic district and of historical significance? No one addresses the question and we suspect further evidence of the mean spirited campaign against Cobb. We suppose if someone else owned the Cobb house and it fell into disrepair because of insufficient resources to maintain it, there would not be the outrage heretofore demonstrated on this blog.


No, intimidation and attacks are big red flags for me and I don't appreciate them even when not directed at myself.

I agree with glock 22's statements that a code of ethics is in no way a law and also that Cobb has been vilified on this thread. My personal belief is that there has to be more to the story Cobb has been telling. His explanation is plausible, but not very believable. That does not, however, justify some of the things being written about him on this thread.

I merely wanted to point out that, in my opinion, glock 22's statements would be taken more seriously if he avoided the personal attacks and elitist attitude.


P.S. Thanks. I respect your opinions, too--very well thought-out and balanced.

To glock 22,

If you're so bent on the Kroehler house why don't you do something about it? Isn't the house owned by the college? Maybe I'm wrong. The story we're talking about now is the Hammerschmidt house, not the Kroehler house....but I know you know that because you are super intelligent!


Just to correct some incorrect assumptions. A great deal of what is contained in the realtor code of ethics is actually a mirror of our Illinois State Statue. Try searching for "Illinois Real Estate License Act of 2000. Then search for the realtor code of ethics and do your own side-by-side comparison.

For all practical purposes what that means is if a realtor violates the code of ethics they very likely have also violated state law.

I wouldn't disagree that Cobb has been vilified to a certain degree on this forum. I also wouldn't disagree that any vilification was at his own doing. It's not like all of a sudden everyone ganged up on him... he made the first move. Not a very smart move either from a personal or business perspective.

Since they family obviously is clueless when it comes to public perception the Cobb family business would be smart to hire a PR firm to bounce some of their personal and business ideas off an impartial advisor before they find themselves in the public cross-hairs again. Smart people learn from their mistakes. We'll see.

I read with interest the posting on the hearing on Aug.7th regarding the status of the Hammerschmidt home as a possible historic landmark . I plan on being there as will others who think this is long overdue. Let us join there as a show of solidarity and support to preserve this home.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING PUBLIC NOTICE is hereby given to all interested persons that a hearing will be held with the City of Naperville Historic Sites Commission, 400 S. Eagle Street, Naperville, Illinois, 60540, to consider a request by the petitioner, Friends and Neighbors Living in Downtown Naperville, whose address is 231 S. Wright Street, Naperville, Illinois, 60540, for a designation of a historic landmark for property located at 432 E. Chicago Avenue, Naperville IL 60540. The owner of the property is Christopher Cobb, whose address is 424 E. Chicago Avenue, Naperville IL 60540. This application is filed as Historic Sites Commission Case #08-15 and may be viewed at the office of the Transportation, Engineering and Development Business Group, located at 400 S. Eagle Street, Naperville, Illinois. A public hearing will be held on said application before the Historic Sites Commission in the City Council Chamber, 400 S. Eagle Street, Naperville, Illinois on Thursday, August 7, 2008, at 7:00 p.m., at which time the Historic Sites Commission will hear the evidence presented on this matter and other such matters as may properly come before the Commission. Comments, if any, to said application may be submitted in writing and filed with the Transportation, Engineering and Development Business Group or the City Clerk's office before the hearing, or may be offered verbally at the hearing. Questions may be directed to the Planning Services Team at (630) 420-6694. Pam LaFeber City Clerk Publish: July 14, 2008

(225 ILCS 454/10‑27)
(Section scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2010)
Sec. 10‑27. Disclosure of licensee status. Each licensee shall disclose, in writing, his or her status as a licensee to all parties in a transaction when the licensee is selling, leasing, or purchasing any interest, direct or indirect, in the real estate that is the subject of the transaction.
(Source: P.A. 91‑245, eff. 12‑31‑99.)

Since they were married at the time I think this answers the question.

glock 22:

After everything I have said in my posts the only come back you have is my misuse of the word “your”?

I have to assume that this means that you agree with everything else in my posts and that they are true. Otherwise I am confident that you would have set me straight. And thanks for clearing up that whole “your vs you’re vs you are” thing for me.

To glock 22 on July 15, 2008 10:35 PM

Your comment: "We suppose if someone else owned the Cobb house and it fell into disrepair because of insufficient resources to maintain it, there would not be the outrage heretofore demonstrated on this blog." This is not the point of the "outrage" in this blog, the main point of the outrage is how the Cobb's acquired the property. I don't think anyone is arguing the fact that the house is in bad condition. So your comment makes no sense much like your other posts.


glock 22,

I know it is hard for you; try to keep up with and focused on the issues being discussed.

I know the Sell terms are ridiculous, but lets all go through our contacts and find some folks with cash to buy this place. I don't want to have to drive past this guy's new yard in a few months and be reminded of this pathetic story. Talk to people, spread the word, let's make this home a really special part of Naperville's history and not leave it as a vacant reminder of one guy's greed and deceit.

Reading through this blog, there are at least a few good themes. One theme is that it does not appear the Cobbs acquired this home fairly. I don't know if it was or wasn't illegal, but it just smells bad. Really bad. And I haven't heard any explanation for why they didn't disclose that the gal was Chris' wife (or fiance, then wife at closing?). Not answering that question leads me to think he knew she wouldn't sell to him, knew he would knock it down, and so he hid behind his wife or wife-to-be. A second theme is private property owners' rights to do generally what they want with their property. I believe in that too, though there are limits. A third theme is history and preservation, which can conflict with the second theme, but I believe this downtown area's future is threatened if we don't strike a good balance and keep those unique historical buildings that really do have importance to people and to the look of the downtown. This one seems to fit into that category. The other theme here is accountability or how the Cobbs have handled this mess. Everybody does things they regret at times. Everyone makes mistakes. This clearly looks like a mistake of judgment on their part. But the way you handle yourself in the face of a public mistake like this is how you will be remembered, not just for the mistake itself. I give the Cobbs a D- on that one. I suspect they want to be "right" by trying to show that noone will buy the property on their ridiculous terms so the older lady he or his wife bought from has nothing to complain about. It won't matter. I bet he will be remembered for the hiding the ball in the purchase but also for not coming out and stepping up to the plate to say that he screwed up, and to genuinely try to sell the place to someone who will restore it, even if he has to kick in a few bucks of his own.

Cobb is indeed doing whatever he wants with this property, so all those who think he can or should be able to (not disputing this!) can calm down a bit.

Drove by yesterday, and saw the horrible condition the new, caring owner has let this ol' beauty deteriorate into. Looks like an abandoned haunted house now, not the lived in, homey place it was when the previous owners took such loving care of it. Lived here over 45 years, and always thought that house was spectacular, especially with the ladder propped against one side or the other. That kind of charm can't be bought.

It's quite obvious to all, especially with the police tape, broken porch pillars and public notice sign in front that Cobb's only intention was to make a profit. He, his bride and the "friends" who have posted here can cry foul all they want. The proof is standing on the corner, for everyone to see.

After reading all the fervent statements that this is not what Mrs. O'Neill wanted, that she wanted it to be preserved in perpetuity, the obvious question has to be asked. Why didn't she, or her representatives, get the house landmark status before it was listed for sale?

Of course, the obvious answer is that they knew that it would be almost impossible to sell the house in its present condition with all the stipulations that go along with buying a property with landmark status. They are guilty, as many here are, of insisting someone else spend the money to do what they want done.

Seems they also made over $700,000 on the deal before getting a historic landmark type conscience. Funny how that is a moral decision for them, but not for the purchasers.

To SAD: Let me make sense for you. 1) One of the founding principles of this country is individual property rights. Not collective, not community, not government property rights. As indicated in many posts on this blog, apparently indvidual property rights do not apply if your name is Cobb and you own the property. I'm sure if the property in question was yours, you had plans for it and a bunch of busy bodies had other plans for YOUR property, you would suddenly become very cognizant of YOUR rights. Thus it is my opinion some of you, especially those responsible for the historic preservation petition (without the permission of the property owner) may be violating the civil rights of Mr. Cobb. 2) Another civil right is due process and equal protection under the law. Some of you have posted vile comments in my opinion asserting Mr. Cobb has broken the law and is unethical. Did I see one suggesting his wife may be responsible for the death of her prior husband? Good grief. Have you no compassion? Others urge a boycott of the Cobb business.(Look at the post of Long Time Naperville resident July 17 just to name the most recent aberration. Why are you shouting?)No one has first hand knowledge that ANY laws were broken or ANY ethics code was breached. You simply have decided to gang up on the Cobbs in classic lynch mob style for your own interests. Thus, you may have damaged Mr. Cobbs reputation within the community with libelous comments in the public domain. You may have deprived him of his reputation, income and his ability to earn a living while hiding in front of your computers. Were I Mr. Cobb, I would have the house painted titty pink from top to bottom. I would next put a big sign in the front yard thanking all of my neighbors for their kind thoughts and fair consideration. When realtors are bringing prospective clients into that area, they will be ethically duty bound to explain when asked by the prospective buyer how that poor guy bought that house and a bunch of people around the neighborhood did not like what his plans were for the property. They tried to limit his use of it by attempting to have it placed under community control without his consent with landmark status. I'll bet they then would be interested in NOT buying property anywhere near there. Finally I would go to Chicago and meet with a civil rights litigation law firm and review the entire matter with them. It has to be a Chicago firm because its near the Federal Court House at 219 S. Dearborn. An attorney is needed now anyway at least for representation with the petition and demolition permit process.(more damages if anyone is counting) If there is a case, the suit is filed naming the group filing the preservation petition. With subpoena power, the Sun would be served and EVERYONE who posted on this blog is identified. Then we unravel who said what, who was acting in concert with others and so on. I urge Mr. Cobb to take the offensive. Your case is truly one of social justice. And to SAD, is this crystal clear for you???

Response to By would if I could on

C'mon good care??? Are you kidding me? Nothing has been done to this house for years. It is a dump. The house is for sale for the same price that Mr. Cobb paid. I mean either go buy it or move on, the prior owners were welcome to it back as well. Please e-mail me so I can let you all know how ridiculous your accusations are. Slander, defamation, etc... nothing like cowardly annonymous responses here.

To By Anonymous on July 17, 2008 9:37 PM

Who in the heck are you ranting at?

Make sure you give the SUN all of your info so Mr. Cobb can reach you for representation.

I think most of the people here are getting their information from the articles published by the SUN (through interviews with the sellers broker, the family of the seller and the buyers), not making it up to be libelous or cruel. Does that make it ok, I don't know, I'm not a Civil Rights Attorney. I'm not saying that the SUN has done anything wrong, this blog is a place to talk about what's going on. Not one of the people that have posted here did so just because they could (otherwise I would think they would have taken out a full-page ad in the SUN years ago), they are reacting to a news story. Again, does it make it ok, I don't know!

I've read through the majority of the posts and haven't seen any indication that anyone is saying Mrs. Cobb is responsible for her first husbands death. Mabye I've missed it...if in fact someone did say that well SHAME on them. That is the farthest thing from what this story is about.

I'm sure one of the attorney wannabes will set me straight.

Over 200 posts on this topic and not a single word from Chris Cobb or the family business to clarify their side of what has transpired. Come on Chris, tell your side of the story. We are waiting.

"this blog is a place to talk about what's going on."

Exactly right, Anonymous on July 18, 2008 8:49 AM! Opinions, memories,
feelings, and/or observations aren't accusations or libelous! Thanks for your post.

To: Anonymous on July 17, 2008 9:37 PM

"Were I Mr. Cobb, I would have the house painted titty pink from top to bottom." The funny thing is, that would look great on an Old Queen Anne/Victorian style home. I'm sure you didn't think that through before posting it.

Your post is bizarre, are you ranting at everyone or just SAD? Which I don't think I've seen anyone with SAD as there "name", I've seen Sad and sad. Please clarify so that it's "crystal clear" for all!!

Check out the Naper Settlement web site. There are some amazing photos of the inside of the Hammerschmidt home! Such work cannot be duplicated today without spending huge $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Give me those apple-bottom jeans, boots with the fur, and some preservation in this hiz-ouse known as Naperville.


To Anon (Luly 16 @ 1:41)

If the code mostly mirrors state law, then he should bring a complaint and not just complain about what happened.

Thanks for the info.


Anonymous posted: "Over 200 posts on this topic and not a single word from Chris Cobb or the family business to clarify their side of what has transpired."

Actually the Cobbs issued a statement and the Sun published it in its full form on July 11th. See "Statement from Homeowner".

I believe they make a couple of good points in their statement. First, the past owners could have petitioned for landmark status on the home themselves and it is too bad they didn't do so. Second, there was apparently nothing in writing in the contract about rennovating the home. It seems like the sellers could / should have done that too.

They also say in their statement that they did not "promise" to rennovate the home. Their use of the word "promise" is curious in my opinion. Sometimes it isn't what WAS disclosed but what WAS NOT disclosed that should be explained.

In my opinion, a big question that has not been answered is why Susan Wilkie and her father-in-law / broker did not tell the sellers that she was really either engaged to or, as it appears based on Chris and Susan's personal wedding website that describes their November 17th ceremony, married to next door neighbor and realtor Chris Cobb? I would like to hear Chris and Susan's answer to that question. Why haven't they answered it yet?

If Susan Wilkie's brokere, Bernie Cobb Sr., told the former owner or her agent that Susan Wilkie was a lady from out of town who had restored similar buildings in the past (as reported in the Sun's July 13th article with a quote from Darfler), and they were never told that Susan Wilkie was the wife or fiance, whichever, of nextdoor neighbor and realtor Chris Cobb, I can understand why they felt "duped" when they found out.

The Cobbs statement also says that as of the 10th, none of the potential buyers found it "economically feasible" to restore the home. My question is "economically feasible" on what terms? Cobb is not offering the home at the price he paid or the terms he bought it. He is adding on more costs, 30 thousand dollars more so far. He is also requiring a 50 thousand dollar non-refundable certified check paid to Chris Cobb as a condition to making any offer, among other unusual conditions to the sale - no escrow of the deposit as would normally be the case. Why don't Chris and Susan offer to sell the home on the same terms and at the same price they paid Ms. O'Neal for it? And list it for sale in the MLS. Then we can actually see if it is "economically feasible" for a new owner to rennovate it.

Here is a quote from Chris Cobb that was in the July 1st article about this story" "Sue and I feel it is very unfortunate that the previous owners allowed the home to deteriorate to such disrepair," Cobb said by e-mail. "If anyone wanted to buy the property with the promise of keeping the home fully intact, we would sell it for the price that we paid."

Is it really true that Chris is now asking more than the price he paid? Is he claiming he was misquoted or did he just change his mind? Apparently he made the same offer to more than just the Sun journalist. ECHO Board member Ann Hahn-Baiyor is quoted in the same article basically saying the same thing: "We had some dialogue with Chris Cobb and he said he would be willing to sell the property at the price he paid for it, without demolishing the site. I can't go out and directly solicit people to the property because it's not mine, but we're hoping someone can come forward. It's a gorgeous home that's really a major part of our downtown," she said.

Why did Chris Cobb not keep his word on this offer?

Response to Anonymous wrote: The Cobbs statement also says that as of the 10th, none of the potential buyers found it "economically feasible" to restore the home. My question is "economically feasible" on what terms? Cobb is not offering the home at the price he paid or the terms he bought it. ... Why don't Chris and Susan offer to sell the home on the same terms and at the same price they paid Ms. O'Neal for it? And list it for sale in the MLS. Then we can actually see if it is "economically feasible" for a new owner to rennovate it.

I didn't realize until seeing these posts that Chris is not selling the home for the price he paid. The "Specific Conditions" document from Cobb is now posted on the Naper Settlement website. http://www.napersettlement.museum/history/Hammerschmidt%20Home/Hammerschmidt%20House%20Conditions%20for%20Purchase.pdf
It says "closing and carrying costs" are added on and those are apparently at least 30 thousand dollars?

Didn't The Cobb Team, as brokers for Susan Wilkie, already pocket 2.5% of the $775,000 purchase price -- nearly $20,000? Has anyone asked if they would reduce the price by that amount, rather than increase the price by another $30,000?

What about MLS listing? If he lists it in MLS, he would probably have to say the purchase price is $805,000. Maybe that is why he hasn't listed it?

To Response,

Sorry I missed that article. As my Naperville Sun home delivery has been spotty to say the least of recent and that week I didn't receive papers on two different days.

Today the head of Citibank predicted that the value of homes will continue to fall for at least two more years. That is on top of what they have already fallen so far.

What Chris Cobb or his wife... who really knows who bought what on this deal?... paid for this house has already taken a beating in the marketplace. Savy buyers, especially those with the capital to afford a house of this cost, the extra cost of renovations, and pay the taxes during the whole renovation are not stupid enough to buy while the market is heading down. They will wait until it is somewhere near the bottom which explains in part why they are not receiving any offers. Add on to that any ridiculous terms and one has to question the sincerity of Cobb as an aspiring seller.

If he tears it down he will become a pariah in Naperville and permanently harm his family business.

If he does nothing the home will continue to deteriorate and he will be stuck paying taxes on a property that isn't even generating rental income.

If he renovates it he will have to sink more of his own money into it knowing full well the market is heading down and regardless of what he does the house will net him less than he started with.

If he sells it today as is he will have to sell it at a loss because the market is already down. The longer he waits the more he looses as the market continues downward.

He is between the proverbial rock and a hard place. No matter what he does at this point he is going to loose money. Talk about someone who is in the business timing the market wrong. If he has any intelligence he will forget about trying to turn a profit because that just isn't going to happen. The longer this drags on the more vultures that will start to circle on this one. The smart move is to cut his losses and get out from under this one as quickly as possible.

We'll soon see how business savvy Cobb really is.

According to Chris, he already received one offer of $710,000. He called that offer $95,000 short and said that the people who want to save the mansion should kick in the rest. That seems ironic coming from the guy who has already apparently changed the public offer he made in the Sun 2 weeks ago to sell this house for the price he paid for it ($775,000). Actually, if you subtract out the 2.5% commission The Cobb Team received at closing the true "net" price he (or his wife) paid would have been about $755,000. That would make the offer he received only $45,000 short, which is close enough that the buyer, or others, might have made it happen.

It looks to me like Chris is just going through the motions and is trying his best to scare people away from bidding on it. I predict his new, landmark yard will be fully landscaped by the fall. Fire up the bulldozers...

If he fires up the bulldozers he can happily live ever after in Naperville knowing his circle of friends will shrink somewhat.

As to where he works, well that is a different story all together. He can sure try to start over from the ground up in some other town if he chooses. Best of luck to him if that is his intent. The day he turns the key in the bulldozer is the day he and his family may as well shut down their local real estate business.

I'll kick in $500.00 to the right buyer that will renovate it. Anyone else interested?

Well Thom,

That is a generous offer. If there are another 999 generous people out there you might just be able to pull together the incentive to renovate if there is a buyer who can afford the base price.

Come on, Thom, you can do better than that. Add a 0 to that.

The Cobb's chose The Glancer to set the record straight with their side of the story? A superficial, fluff puff "magazine" filled with ads on how to be perfect and "glanced" around town. What a perfect place for Chris and Sue to cry boo hoo.

Yes, I noticed the article in The Glancer as well but the Cobb's never touched on the subject of Chris & his dad’s professional and ETHICAL obligation to divulge who the REAL buyer was. They make me sick!

Sure and take a look who pays to advertise in the Glancer. Do you think the Glancer is going to write anything but a friendly story about him? It's not like the Glancer is a serious news publication anyway.

Since the Cobbs have said that they are willing to sell the house, I would like to see a "For Sale" sign placed on the property. Chicago Avenue has a lot of traffic and a prospective buyer or someone who knows a prospective buyer may drive by at any time and not realize the property is for sale.

Another possibility: Would the Cobbs consider moving the house to the east on the existing site? I believe the site is either 1 1/2 or 2 lots. This would allow them to gain some added garden space to their home and still save the house. I don't know if extra garden space was one of the reasons that the Cobbs purchaced the property in the first place but a "garden" was mentioned in one article. If they moved the home over, I would support redividing the lot. However, if the mansion is torn down I would do what I could through the City to see that the Cobbs are not allowed to redivide the lot to add to their home's property or to build one or two homes on the existing site and benefit financially from the tear down.

I am sad to say that I rented a house from Bernie Cobb. I understood what Bernie was about after working with him and dealing with his sales office...making money. After living here in Naperville for 20 plus years I see and understand the direction Naperville is headed to. I can't imagine what people are feeling that have called Naperville home a lot longer than I have.

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This page contains a single entry by Naperville Sun editors published on July 9, 2008 7:00 AM.

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