Two Chicago-based apartment owners and developers are suing a Maine investment firm, claiming it illegally enticed limited partners in seven rental properties to sell their shares at cut-rate prices, according to the newspaper Crain’s Chicago Business.

Crain’s reported that Daniel Levin and James McHugh, both longtime landlords in the Windy City, have filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court alleging that Portland-based LP Solutions LLC “made false, misleading and deceptive presentations” to limited partners in the seven Chicago-area apartment buildings, which are partly owned by the plaintiffs and managed by The Habitat Co. LLC, of which Levin is founder and chairman.

As a result, those partners sold their shares to LP Solutions for far less than their market value, the complaint says. LP Solutions also violated partnership agreements by failing to notify Levin and McHugh that it was buying out investors’ shares, it says.

Representatives of Levin and McHugh declined to comment or provide a copy of the complaint. According to Crain’s, they allege in the complaint that LP Solutions’ actions hurt other investors by devaluing their shares and interfering with efforts to refinance the buildings.

LP Solutions did not return calls from the Press Herald seeking comment, but told Crain’s in a written statement that its actions were legal.

“We strongly disagree with the plaintiffs’ characterization of our actions, which we believe complied with both the applicable laws and the partnership agreements,” it said.

LP Solutions is an affiliate of Portland-based Low Income Housing Corp. that was set up specifically to buy limited partnership interests in apartment buildings. According to its website, it owns shares in thousands of rental units in Boston, New York, Chicago and other large cities.

Department of the Secretary of State business records show that LP Solutions was incorporated in Maine in December 2002.