Moldy ‘Tweet’ Lands Former Chicago Tenant in Hot Water

July 30, 2009

A Chicago company ticked off over a former tenant’s “tweet” about a moldy apartment has filed a lawsuit against her.

In its lawsuit, Horizon Group Management LLC accuses Amanda Bonnen of defaming the company in May when she “tweeted” about moldy apartments.

The lawsuit said she used Twitter, a microblogging service that allows users to give brief online status updates, to tell another user: “Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.”

Jeff Michael, general counsel for Horizon, said Bonnen’s apartment was among several affected by an overnight leak in March when a contractor was making roof repairs. Michael said the company resolved all but Bonnen’s grievances and she moved out June 30 on her own accord.

The company claims her tweet was published “throughout the world” and severely damaged its good name. Although Bonnen’s account was set to public, meaning any Twitter user could see it, a Google-cache of the now deactivated account shows she had 17 followers.

The company’s lawsuit seeks $50,000. Bonnen and her lawyers didn’t return phone messages for comment.

In a twist, Bonnen has sued the company – but not over tweeting or mold. Her suit, filed a few days before she moved out, claims the company violated Chicago leasing rules by not paying tenants interest on security deposits and failing to provide warnings about overloading porches.

Michael said her lawsuit was “completely baseless,” an example of how tenants try to manipulate the city’s controversial leasing regulations.

The company’s main concern: her tweeting.

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