Amy Jacobson, a former reporter for WMAQ–Channel 5, has sold her four-bedroom Lake View graystone for $938,000—a 4.2 percent gain over the purchase price three years ago, but a significant loss, says Jacobson, given what she put into the home.
In a lawsuit filed this week with the Cook County Circuit Court, Jacobson and her husband, Jamie Anglada, say they were forced to sell their home after she was fired from Channel 5 last July following the airing of a video on CBS-owned WBBM–Channel 2 showing Jacobson in a bikini at the Plainfield home of Craig Stebic. At the time, Jacobson had been covering the April 2007 disappearance of Stebic’s estranged wife, Lisa.
“I loved that house,” Jacobson told me yesterday in a phone call. “It was quiet and like an escape from the city. I bought it because I love Chicago graystones and there weren’t too many we could afford. It took a lot to get that house.”
Jacobson’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, filed the multimillion-dollar lawsuit against CBS, as well as Joseph Ahern, the president and general manager of Channel 2, and others. The suit alleges that Jacobson has been unable to find a new job because of the negative impact of the video aired by Channel 2. “Plaintiffs were forced to sell their home as a result of the severe financial losses caused by Defendants’ action,” claims the suit. “Plaintiffs had worked extremely hard to purchase their dream home, and now, rent a small apartment with their two children that is within sight of their former home.”
Jacobson said that she and her husband opted to stay in the neighborhood so that their two children could remain at the same school. “I didn’t want to give them too many changes,” she said. Jacobson added that she does gardening chores around the yard of the apartment for a discount on the rent.
Jacobson and Anglada had bought the house in May 2005 for $900,000. It has eight-rooms, three-plus baths, a sizable backyard for a city house, and a wine cellar in the finished basement. The couple renovated the master bathroom, installing a steam shower, Jacuzzi tub, and heated tile floor; in the kitchen, they put in granite counter tops and stainless-steel appliances. According to Jacobson, they spent approximately $42,000 on upgrades, including a new furnace and tuck-pointing, during the three years they lived in the house. Built in 1890, the house is on a quiet block in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood, not far from Lake View High School, the Blaine Elementary School, and the Irving Park stop on the CTA Brown Line.
According to property records at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, the couple had taken out a new $839,000 mortgage on the house on July 5, 2007—coincidentally, the day before Jacobson was taped visiting the Stebics’ house.
On September 21, 2007, the couple listed the house for sale, asking $1,025,000. “I had severance,” said Jacobson, “but I knew it wouldn’t last. This is the worst time to lose your job.” They later dropped the price to $999,000, according to the listing sheet on file with Midwest Real Estate Data. On the listing sheet, potential buyers were told to “call owner directly for an appointment. Ask for Amy.” Jacobson said that they had listed the house with 4 Sale Realty, a discount agency, to reduce the total sales commission. Despite that, Jacobson says, she owes $23,000 to the buyer’s agent and another $24,000 on the house.
On April 22, 2008, Jacobson and Anglada signed a contract to sell the house for $938,000. The deal closed June 6th.