LPMCO Origins and History
In April of 1976 I began my employment with a local CPA Firm and one of my clients was Monge Realty and Investments, Inc., a prominent construction and development firm headquartered in Pekin, Illinois.
Through that association I got to know Robert "Bob" Monge and his organization. Although the company had built numerous apartment communities, it only owned a few of them. Our CPA firm prepared tax returns for many of the various ownership entities. From my vantage point, I could see that the communities were not being well-managed and was aware that several of the entities were heading for financial difficulties.
Bill Leman, co-founder and retired CEO, and wife Jeanne
When Bob’s in-house accountant became terminally ill in late 1979, he asked if I would be interested in joining the operation as the Chief Financial Officer. I was happy with my career in public accounting and instead worked with Bob to find a replacement. After several possible candidates did not work out, I agreed to take the position, thinking once the situation was stabilized, I might return to my CPA firm. However, I enjoyed the work and the relationships and continued in the real estate industry for another forty years.
As we discussed my role in the new job, we talked about the need to provide better operating results for those entities for which Monge Realty and Investments had built apartments. At about that same time, several of those previously unaffiliated partnerships and land trusts contracted with us to provide management services for their apartment communities. Concurrently with my April 1 start date we took over the management of approximately 400 apartment units, which, when added to the units owned by Monge Realty brought our total number of units under management to just over 600 units.
At this same time, prime interest rates had skyrocketed to 20% and our area’s major employer cut their work force by approximately two thirds from 23,000 employees to 8,600 employees. Construction virtually halted in Central Illinois during the next 6 years and vacancy rates in these apartments was sometimes in the 40% range. Many apartment communities failed, and our efforts were consumed with working with owners, lenders, and buyers to keep the properties we managed out of bankruptcy.
As our portfolio continued to grow, I suggested we consider forming a separate management company to provide those services and we agreed that in addition to my role with the existing company, we would mutually form a property management company. In December 1982 Monge Property Management was formed with 50% ownership by Bob Monge and 50% ownership by me.
In 1983 Bob’s daughter graduated from college and became interested in the real estate business. Bob asked if he could sell his interest in Monge Property Management Co. to his daughter Melanie and in December 1983 she became the other 50% owner of the company.
We continued to acquire additional properties to manage through both construction of new projects as well as third party management contracts with entities with which we had an association through past relationships.
During those early years we developed a relationship with an apartment syndicator doing business in Colorado who was originally from the Pekin area. We contracted for several large construction projects to be constructed by Monge Realty and arranged for the sale of several of the apartment communities managed by Monge Property Management to Colorado Partnerships formed by this syndicator. Over the next several years, those partnerships struggled and almost all the properties were re-acquired by new groups of owners in Illinois.
Dave Leman joined the company in February 1992 and was the first key employee at the upper management level other than the owners to become involved with guiding the direction of the company.
In 1995 Melanie and her husband decided to move to Colorado and asked if I would purchase her shares in Monge Property Management Co. We were able to come to an agreement and in July 1995 her shares were sold back to the company which resulted in my ownership of 100% of the company.
Drew Leman joined the company in September 2003 and eventually, along with his wife Amanda, became the majority stockholder of the company.
Although he was only a stockholder of the company for one year after it’s inception, in honor of Bob Monge’s involvement the name of the company retained his name during the remainder of his life. Bob died in February 2008 and in September of that year the company’s name was changed to Leman Property Management Co.
Today, Leman Property Management Co. and Service Inc. (our maintenance and housekeeping division) have grown to a staff of 45 employees. We manage over 1,600 apartment units in 7 central Illinois communities. We also manage 8 commercial and retail buildings, a mini storage facility, and our Hickory Hills and Veteran’s Drive residential/commercial subdivisions.