Bellas & Wachowski, Attorneys at Law

George Bellas started what is now Bellas & Wachowski Attorneys at Law after leaving his position as a prosecuting attorney in 1973. The firm consists of six attorneys and six support team members working in areas such as business law, business litigation and personal injury claims. Our law offices are located in the Chicago area, near O'Hare Airport and easy for our clients to reach from anywhere in the Chicago area.

Bellas & Wachowski, Attorneys at Law Blogs

Blog Authors

Latest from Bellas & Wachowski, Attorneys at Law

How to Prepare for 2021 Wow, 2020 was a year to forget! I hesitate to say it was interesting because it was not. It was more like a nightmare as we coped with a public health crisis, an economic crisis, a political crisis, and a civil rights crisis. Let’s put 2020 in a lead box and drop it in the deepest part of the ocean! Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced a number of businesses to close. Some businesses have actually thrived and others have adapted and are working diligently to succeed. Mostly, it has altered how businesses operate and tested…
Employees can be required to vaccinate. The federal government has stated that workers can be barred from work if they refuse the vaccine.  Employers can make a COVID vaccination a condition of employment.  But, employers must also consider exemptions for employees with disabilities or religious objections. After a long delay in getting guidance to employers, on December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) – this is the agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination – provided the answer to whether employers can require employees to provide proof of vaccination and how employers should respond to employees who indicate…
Are virtual business transactions the new reality? Once consummated in title company conference rooms amid seemingly bottomless stacks of paper, real estate transactions—like seemingly every other aspect of our lives—have gone virtual during the pandemic. While some home buyers opt to continue in-person closings where possible, others are either giving their attorneys the power to ink final documents for them, or turning to software like DocuSign, with which increasing numbers of customers have become comfortable. Continue reading
COVID Rules for Residential Evictions The COVID-19 Pandemic has drastically altered the Rules for Residential Evictions affecting both landlords and tenants. The Federal Government and the State of Illinois have enacted rules to protect many individuals from eviction and landlords must be aware of the rules to protect their interests.   The recent Stay-At-Home recommendations and the slowdown in the economy have created pressures on both landlord and tenants. Continue reading
           Crypto economy has arrived. An actual physical bank will soon be providing the full slate of deposit-taking, custody and fiduciary services for cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. The Cheyenne, Wyoming-based Kraken Financial on September 16 became the first digital asset firm in the U.S. to obtain a federal- and state-recognized bank charter and thus will be regulated very similarly to other American banks. Although the institution will have a physical office in Cheyenne, the plan is to emphasize online and mobile banking, with customer support on call 24/7/365. Continue reading
Employers Need to Mask Up Against Lawsuits Small businesses face a dizzying swirl of regulations from different levels of government about whether patrons and employees are required to wear masks during the pandemic, as well as whether employers are required to either purchase masks for employees or reimburse them for reasonable costs. The scenario becomes more fraught given the emergence of class-action litigation even when businesses are complying with the mandates and guidelines from the federal, state and local authorities. Going forward, small businesses need to strike a delicate balance between accommodating customers in their public spaces while doing right…
State Requires Sexual Harassment Prevention Training If you’re a small business owner and you haven’t trained your employees on sexual harassment prevention, you have until December 31 to stay in compliance with Public Act 101-0221, which amended the Illinois Human Rights Act to require such training this year and every year hereafter. This recent law mandated that the Illinois Department of Human Rights put together a model training program for sexual harassment prevention, which the department has made publicly available to employers online. Continue reading
Women-Owned Small Business Ends Starting October 15, in a stepped-up effort to ensure that all applicants are eligible, the U.S. Small Business Administration will no longer allow women-owned small businesses or economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses to self-certify that they meet the requirements for the Procurement Program for Women-Owned Small Business Concerns. That program enables these categories of businesses to compete for set-aside or sole source contracts with the goal of awarding at least 5% of contracts to these businesses, a goal that the government surpassed in 2019 with $26 billion in total contracts awarded. Women-owned small businesses are defined…
Is commercial real estate set to rebound after 2020? The pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders from governments and private employers has upended the commercial real estate market on a number of fronts.  And we are now looking square into the Pandemic Recession which has just begun. For now, it’s merely a matter of unpaid rents and empty spaces, which means short-term losses for building owners. But if working at home has lasting appeal—and the sometimes-resistant culture of American business changes—or if shopping from home stays at its currently heightened level of prevalence, commercial real estate could lose longer-term value.…
How private is your cell phone? Smartphones provide all kinds of information that advertisers might find useful, including the user’s locations throughout the day. While this information is aggregated and anonymized—excluding names and other identifiers—it’s possible that hackers or other malevolent actors could gain access to a user’s raw data. Location tracking can be useful for a number of reasons, ranging from targeted advertising from stores and brands, to traffic monitoring and reporting on the part of GPS apps, to analyzing the growth of potential coronavirus hot spots. But people often don’t know their information is being tracked, and disclosures…
The Dangers of Payroll Tax Deferment As part of a series of executive actions rolled out in early August, President Trump ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to allow the deferral of the 6.2% payroll tax on employees from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 for workers making less than about $104,000 on an annualized basis.  The plan was brought forth by the White House after it became clear that Congress did not plan to play ball with the President and pass an actual payroll tax cut. After a hard look at the plan, it is obvious that small business owners should not be…
The Key to Surviving as a Small Business How can your business – and you – survive the COVID-19 pandemic? It’s a tall order.   But small business owners have means of surviving.   The corollary shutdowns have impacted 20% of small businesses, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and restrictions have affected a far greater number. A study by the University of Illinois, University of Chicago and Harvard University and its business school estimates more than 100,000 small businesses are permanently shuttered. Not a surprise since many small firms don’t generally have more than a few months’ cash reserve. Continue
Entrepreneurial Business Concepts  Companies like GE, Disney and HP got their start during the Great Depression, while Airbnb, Uber, Slack and Venmo launched in cyberspace during the Great Recession.   Taboola’s analysis of more than 8 billion page views, along with data from the aggregated readership among 1,000 of its publisher partners, collected in March and April, shows several promising growth markets, as Singolda noted in an article published on CNBC.com. Creating the next great videoconferencing platform is an idea that’s probably already taken, but the Taboola analysis of search engine terms revealed others: Continue reading
Cyber Security Insurance The sudden expansion of remote work arrangements in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis has created a buffet of opportunities for would-be cyber criminals. And the newly reconfigured, decentralized satellite workplaces in people’s homes look to be with us for some time.   In addition to protecting themselves from the network vulnerabilities created by these off-site offices, businesses need to undertake a thorough review of their cyber insurance policies to ensure that if a malicious actor causes them harm, they are protected on the fiscal front. Cyberattacks have surged in recent months because of the much greater use…
The Supreme Court decided two years ago in Carpenter v. United States that the Fourth Amendment requires police to obtain a warrant, in most circumstances, to access GPS location information spanning seven days or more from a cell phone user.   Prior to that decision, the court had held that voluntarily providing this information to third parties like technology companies did not have Fourth Amendment protections and thus litigants did not have any reasonable expectation of privacy. Although the court majority labeled the decision “narrow,” it nonetheless led to questions about where else Fourth Amendment protections might be applied in future…