The National Rifle Association makes its share of headlines. And in 2010, Oak Park’s name found its way into the story.
For the past six months, Wednesday Journal has been tracking who would be paying the roughly $1.3 million in legal fees associated with Oak Park and Chicago’s battle with the gun association, which led to overturning the handgun bans in the two municipalities.
Ruling in favor of the NRA, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the bans, leaving the question of who would pick up the hefty legal tab from the NRA. The Journal reported in July that an ordinance agreement between Oak Park and Chicago sheltered Oak Park from incurring any costs from potential lawsuits, largely because of the village’s agreement to join in the fight. Oak Park and Chicago officials believed at the time they would both benefit if the issue were tackled together.
Although Oak Park was in the clear for the legal fees, a check was written from the Village of Oak Park in an amount totaling more than $600,000. To be exact, according to calgunlaws.com, a site hosted by Michel & Associates P.C., a California-based law firm, Oak Park’s check totaled $663,294.10 to the National Rifle Association of America Institute for Legislative Action.
The site, however, according to Village President David Pope was off in its reporting. It’s true that Oak Park wrote a check, Pope said, but what the story didn’t include was the fact that Chicago reimbursed the Village of Oak Park for that exact amount almost immediately.
Although a July 25 court document outlines that the Village of Oak Park and the city of Chicago jointly recognize being responsible for half the costs incurred, the original agreement leaves the full financial responsibility up to Chicago. The agreement also states that Oak Park would be responsible for its own legal fees associated with the case, but the village was represented by the Chicago-based firm of Mayer Brown at no cost.
The NRA indeed got its $1.3 million in legal fees paid for, but Oak Park didn’t foot any of the bill.