Regent Realty owners indicted in fraud

By Ameet Sachdev
Posted Feb. 10 at 12:45 p.m.

The co-owners of a Chicago realty company that managed dozens of condominium properties have been charged with fraud for allegedly stealing more than $2 million in assessment payments, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago said Thursday.

Donald Doering of Wilmette and Jay Strauss of Scottsdale, Ariz., were each charged with three counts of wire fraud in a federal indictment returned by a grand jury Wednesday.

Doering, 63, and Strauss, 75, owned Regent Realty Group Inc., 2130 W. Belmont Ave., that provided property management services to 48 condo associations, according to the indictment. Between 2005 and 2008, the men allegedly used assessments from condo owners to pay off personal debt they had on a real estate project, the indictment said.

They allegedly covered up their fraud by creating false monthly financial reports for the accounts of each property managed, the indictment said.

The Chicago Police Department began investigating Regent Realty in 2008, when condo owners filed 30 complaints after learning that the company had not been paying bills at their buildings for months. Two associations at the time said they tried to fire Regent Realty and move their accounts to new management companies but were told they had little money left, according to a Tribune report.

Doering and Strauss could not be immediately reached for comment.

They have not been arraigned.

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  1. Tamara Feb. 10 at 1:12 pm

    What were the condo board members doing????

  2. Board member Feb. 10 at 1:29 pm

    Jay maintained the accounts and brought cooked account statements to the boards…

    Good to hear that Jay (who is an old man) was finally charged… It only took three years to charge a guy that stole millions….

  3. Duped Board Member Feb. 10 at 1:40 pm

    About time! And yeah, our books were among those being cooked. From what they were giving us our funds were basically right on with what we were supposed to have. Couple that with the fact that our association was made up at the time of almost all first time home buyers, and it was a recipe for disaster. Luckily our association survived, and we are all wiser for it. Glad to see they’re getting their due.

  4. greg Feb. 10 at 1:44 pm

    Finally. This is a slam dunk case, but it took them 3 years to indict Strauss. here is a 2008 article on the situation:

  5. Karl Feb. 10 at 1:53 pm

    If you use an outside management company or individual(s) for your condo association, make sure they are bonded and/or you have a board member co-sign all checks/withdrawals. The treasurer should have been reconciling to the bank statements at least once a year at a minimum. Not a lawyer, but wonder whether failing to take the above steps provides any recourse against the condo board’s insurance policy.

  6. Saa Feb. 10 at 1:58 pm

    Can’t trust old people just because they’re old. Why on God’s green earth would you have assessment money go to the management company accounts rather than a trust account that the condo controls? What a shame that such an open and shut case takes years. The very the government can do, apparently.

  7. Feb. 10 at 1:59 pm


    Interesting article. Jim Kahn may have some interest. He needs to make sure he has good internal controls in his company since they manage association money.

  8. Bill Feb. 10 at 2:18 pm

    I tried to get Regent fired as the manager of my former condo. Luckily I sold before this fraud was exposed. The men’s faith and/or nationality has nothing to do with this. A crook is a crook.

  9. Jay D. Ligner Feb. 10 at 2:22 pm

    Why are unintelligent, antisemitic, or anti any group comments allowed to be posted to what should be an intelligent running commentary by thoughtful individuals? Hatred is neither thoughtful, intelligent or anything other than personalized stupidity by a narrow minded individual.
    Posting such comments is not freedom of the press, it is idiocracy.

  10. ejhickey Feb. 10 at 2:31 pm

    this makes me wary of buying a condo. at least with a single family house, it is hard to steal from yourself.

  11. screwed by Regent Feb. 10 at 2:39 pm

    @Tamara: we were all just twiddling our thumbs. What do you think? We were filing police reports, scrambling to cover the costs left unpaid so we could still get our garbage picked up and the snow cleared from the parking lot. We were convening emergency meetings to make sure owners continued to pay assessments, we were photocopying past bills and meeting minutes and we were talking to our insurance companies. Oh, and filing reports with the FBI all while continuing to hold down our full-time jobs and take care of our families while experiencing a very unique and massive violation. That’s what we were doing.

  12. Mike Feb. 10 at 2:55 pm

    I hope they both die in prison.

  13. Mike Feb. 10 at 2:58 pm

    When this happened to us we sued our BOARD MEMBERS. As a group and individually. And we won. hint hint

  14. Regent Victim Feb. 10 at 3:13 pm

    Its about time. What these people did is utterly shameful. And utterly craven. Its been years but this is a good day.

  15. Mary Feb. 10 at 3:16 pm

    The laws in Illinois are very specific about the fact that elected Board members cannot be sued, and cannot be held responsible. If a Board member stole something, that would be a criminal manner. If Board members could be sued, no one would serve on a Board.
    Therefore, Mike, you just made that up.

  16. JD Feb. 10 at 3:33 pm

    Jay managed our condo assoc. for a short time in 2001. Luckily our board members caught on quickley that he was useless. He came across as a nice older guy who knew his stuff. Guess not.

  17. Deborah Feb. 10 at 3:40 pm

    Mary, excuse my familiarity–but that’s an interesting fact about Board Members not being subject to lawsuits. I quit the Board in my Association because I was tired of the threats of lawsuits from people who don’t do anything, never will do anything and think it’s their right to just cause mayhem at meetings. Is this true? It would sure let Board Members breathe easier.

  18. Ian Feb. 10 at 3:53 pm

    If board members can’t be sued why do they have to take out Director’s and Officer’s insurance policies?

  19. screwed by Regent Feb. 10 at 4:16 pm

    Board Members can’t be sued if they serve on a voluntary basis. If you are on a Board like this, you need to educate yourself. Spend the money for an hour’s consultation with a condo law specialist. You and the other members need to know about your rights and responsibilities under IL Condo Law.

  20. Ex Regent Customer Feb. 10 at 4:19 pm

    I was on the condo board of a building in Lakeview that Regent Realty converted from apartments and then managed. It was a disaster from day 1! They would pay the bills late, never respond, and lie to your face when you asked them what happened. Jay was the worst of the lot. He never lived up to his promises. Thankfully we were able to see through his shenanigans and “fired” him and Regent 1 year later. I really LMAO when I saw this article – couldn’t happen to a better guy!

  21. BDD Feb. 10 at 4:25 pm

    “What were the condo board members doing????”

    They were doing what our condo board does. Look only after their own self interest. Looking to see which rules get bent for them while sending naughty notes to others who do the same. Raising assessments 16%-17% over two years for feed their own special self serving spending causes. Allowing their own pets to break every rule and run free in the halls……

  22. board member northeside Feb. 10 at 4:34 pm

    about time !!!
    It has taken the same 3 years and more to get our association back on its feet. Now that they are indicted, will we see any money from it? would be nice to get some of the 20 plus thousand dollas that they stole from us.

  23. Flossie Feb. 11 at 11:02 a.m.

    It’s a mystery to me why anyone would choose to buy a condo. You get all the headaches of an apartment (and sometimes more) and none of the benefits of a single-family home.