Contractual power to modify condo declaration held to be complete defense to claim of deceptive conduct under state consumer protection law

The Seventh Circuit found no deceptive conduct within the meaning of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICFA) when a condo developer substantially changed the governing documents after the condo sales. Goldberg v. 401 North Wabash Venture LLC, 2014 WL 2579939 (7th Cir. 2014). The case concerned Trump Tower in Chicago which contains hundreds of residential condominium units and hundreds of hotel condominium units as well as substantial retail space and other facilities. The purchase agreement gave TrumpOrg the "right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to modify the Condominium Documents." Writing for the three-judge panel and applying Illinois law, Judge Posner held that this clause was sufficient to immunize TrumpOrg from any claim of deceptive conduct. Thus the hotel condo owners had no rights when TrumpOrg "greatly curtailed the owners' rights in the hotel facilities." Nor did the conduct violate the statute governing condominiums.