$424,075 and counting

Opinion: Editorials

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In one week, the three parties in the TIF lawsuit — that would be the Village of Oak Park, the District 97 elementary schools and District 200 OPRF High School — will enter non-binding mediation to attempt to bring an end to this absurd, and to taxpayers insulting, suit.

Two words: Settle this.

The Journal's tally of taxpayer money being excreted into the hands of third-party lawyers now exceeds $400,000.

$400,000. Of our money. Our three largest taxing bodies are suing each other, spending our precious tax dollars to fight each other over the question of how much the village owes the high school before the TIF ends in 2018.

Four words: We blame District 200.

They brought this suit. They forced the elementary schools into the suit after District 97 and the village had already come to an agreement over the TIF. Since it makes little sense to spend $424,075 to fight over a couple million dollars, we are now coming to the conclusion that District 200 has a bigger target and that is to prematurely end the TIF entirely.

Of course, none of the parties will say that because, well, you see, they are friggin' suing each other.

One word: Enough.

Reader Comments

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Jim Coughlin  

Posted: September 29th, 2011 5:05 PM

Why would District 200 want to prematurely end the TIF entirely? Is it because they don't feel they have received a fair shake or sense a lack of sufficient oversight? Let's remember Barwin said "No" when the school board simply asked to see the TIF books. Would we be stuck with these huge legal bills if the Village Board had honored it's pledge of open and honest government? There has to be a reason that the trustees did not want anyone to take a good look at the TIF revenues and expenditures.


Posted: September 29th, 2011 12:13 PM

You can thank the BOE at Dist 200 for the $400,000. Had to dig deep for this story huh?


Posted: September 29th, 2011 12:11 PM

Thanks for digging this up Mr. Murtagh! I look forward to finding out the answer... and hope that the case is resolved at no further cost to the taxpayers. Thanks again.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: September 29th, 2011 11:57 AM

TIF Mediations had cost $400,000 as of June. As we head into October, it is a good time for an update on how much this fiasco is costing us.

Gary Schwab from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2011 1:13 PM

Neither the Village nor District 97 have said that District 97 would actually lose money if the DTOP TIF were dissolved. All they've said is that District 97 would realize less than the full $2 million or so that the TIF diverts from them. An organization that recently passed a referendum by threatening doomsday if their "structural deficit" wasn't addressed was dishonest in not talking about how much of that structural deficit resulted from the TIF.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 6:29 PM

Good point, Epic. I forgot there is another player in this game. The taxpayers of River Forest are owed a fair hearing on this issue.

epic lulz  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 5:04 PM

Typical for WJ to blame the victim, the aggrieved party who is forced to sue because it is getting ripped off by VOP. I, on the other hand, lay the blame for the $400k cost squarely on the crooks at VOP, who are not only not standing by their agreement with D200, and thereby ripping off the RF tax payers, but who have a long track record of throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars at well-connected "third party" lawyers and consultants, not to mention millions to developers.


Posted: June 15th, 2011 4:49 PM

Actually, it has nothing to do with not challenging Pope. D97 gets more money with the TIF in place. D200 is different because of the River Forest factor.

Jon Donohue  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 4:24 PM

Just because D97 and the Village reached an agreement with the TIF, does not mean it was legal. D97 is very close to Pope and would dare not challenge him or the Village on their interpretation of the TIF agreement. D200, on the other hand, is not close to Pope and are more concerned about their students then the developers that benefit from the TIF.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 3:25 PM

"Mac Daddy" URBAN DEFINITION - a term used to describe a man with an unusual power over women, and is derived from the French and later Louisiana Creole patois term "maqereau", which means "pimp". Adding "daddy" makes it mean "top pimp". Is OP considered urban? If not; is there another meaning you had in mind?

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 3:14 PM

Do you have any idea what that term means, OP Rez? Spare us the insulting attempt at humor.

O P Rez  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 2:51 PM

murtagh, Are you and coughlin the mac daddies of Oak Park?

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 1:51 PM

I came from a family of eight. When there was a argument among the siblings, he would yell "Knock it off or you all will be punished." One of the siblings would say, "I didn't do nuthin" (we were from Brooklyn) and another would say "did so" followed by a "did not." That's when we were sent to our rooms. End of argument! OP's problem is it has no father-figure. There's no one to step in and send everyone to their rooms. Maybe we need to re-think about the role of the OP Council of Govts.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: June 15th, 2011 10:17 AM

Now that the WJ has demonstrated it knows how to count to 424,075, how about demonstrating some investigative journalism? Absent in this editorial, and in previous articles, is any in-depth investigation of this TIF dispute. If the WJ is going to editorialize by assigning blame to D200, it needs to provide substantiation as the 4th estate. Instead of heaping more uninformed opinions, I expect the WJ to provide clarity to this messy debate, from which its readers may render informed decisions.

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