River Forest parks may add law firm for Keystone lights issue

Special Friday session to approve hiring Ancel Glink municipal law firm

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By BILL DWYER

The River Forest Park District board will convene at 6 p.m. this Friday at Village Hall for a special meeting to discuss approving the hiring of the municipal law firm that literally wrote the book on park district law.

The retention of the Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCanni & Rolek law firm, if approved, would give the park district the benefit of a high powered, knowledgeable firm to act as its Special Counsel in the contentious matter of the board's amended application for athletic field lights in Keystone Park West.

Park district Executive Director Tom Grundin said Thursday that attorney Mark Burkland continues to serve as the park district's General Counsel.

Park district President Steve Dudek informed the board Monday night at its regular monthly meeting that he had approached a principal of that firm, Robert Bush, the previous week regarding making a presentation to the park board. Bush, whom the firm's web site credits with starting the acquisition of park district clients over the past 10 years, was unable to make the Monday meeting, according to Dudek, so the meeting reconvened Tuesday evening. At that meeting Bush gave a 70-minute combination presentation/question and answer session.

Wednesday afternoon the park district posted notice of the special meeting to consider hiring the firm. 

In his presentation Bush outlined the park district's rights and responsibilities in the lights application, and noted that the park board had three basic options.

Bush also stressed that there were both legal and political realities attendant to the application, and that any recourse to a lawsuit should be a "last resort," though one the park district should be prepared to use if it deems it appropriate.

Besides the law, Bush's law firm says it offers clients a range of counseling services, noting,  "We can assist our park district clients in complex and mixed questions of law, economics, finance, engineering and even psychology."

The park district's Keystone West application will formally go before the River Forest village board Jan. 9. The original application was formally withdrawn at a village board meeting in September 2004. An amended application received a split 3-3 vote from the village's Development Review Board on Nov. 17, following two meetings and six hours of park district presentation and public comments, and two hours of concerted deliberation by the review board at a third meeting.

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