D204 suit could cost $6 million Nov 23, 2010 9:22:20 GMT -5
Post by southsidesignmaker on Nov 23, 2010 9:22:20 GMT -5
D204 suit could cost $6 million
BY BILL BIRD email@example.com Nov 22, 2010 09:44PM
Indian Prairie School District 204 must pay nearly $6 million in legal costs and expenses incurred by the owners of a large parcel of land along the Aurora-Naperville border, where district officials initially intended to build their third high school, a DuPage County Circuit Court judge has ruled.
Members of the board of education could decide Dec. 6 whether to pay the judgment or “pursue certain avenues of appeal,” said Richard T. “Rick” Petesch, of Whitt Law LLC, which represents the district.
The final judgment order by Judge Dorothy F. French is the latest and possibly last chapter in a December 2005 condemnation lawsuit filed by District 204 in its pursuit of land for construction of Metea Valley High School. The 3,000-seat school has since been built at Molitor and Eola roads in Aurora.
District officials in 2005 bought 25 acres of an 80-acre parcel near 75th Street and Route 59 owned by the Brach and Brodie trusts. Some of the owners are descendants of candy heiress Helen Voorhees Brach.
Following that condemnation action, District 204 sought to purchase the remaining 55 acres at a jury-determined price if voters approved a referendum to bankroll construction of the new high school.
Voters ultimately approved the referendum, but district officials abandoned their effort to acquire the land via eminent domain after a jury priced the site at $31 million, or more than twice what the district had originally budgeted.
French on Thursday ordered the district to reimburse Chicago Title Land Trust Co. — which represents the Brach estate — $2,469,673.09 “for costs, expenses and reasonable attorneys’ fees,” according to a two-page final judgment order. The district was also ordered to reimburse the Hazel S. Brodie Trust $3,452,937.72 for similar costs, expenses and fees, or a total of $5,922,610.81, the order dictated.
District officials had previously deposited $3.2 million with the DuPage County Treasurer’s Office, of which $1.5 million has been withdrawn by the Brach estate and $1.7 million by the Brodie estate, according to the order. District 204 thus owes $969,673.09 to the Brach estate and $1,752,937.72 to the Brodie heirs, or a total of $2,722,610.81, the order indicated.
Petesch on Monday said a copy of the order has been forwarded to district officials. The matter is likely to be discussed during the executive session portion of the Dec. 6 school board meeting, he said.
The district has 30 days in which to file a motion asking French to reconsider her decision, “so we’ll be discussing with the district what the next step will be,” Petesch said.
District 204 Superintendent Kathy Birkett and director of communication services Janet Buglio could not be reached Monday night for comment on French’s decision or possible future action by the school board.