SPRINGFIELD, IL. (ECWd) -
Today, the 4th Appellate Court reversed the decision of the 5th Circuit Court in granting the Clark County Park District's Motion to Dismiss an Open Meetings Act suit brought by ECWd's Kirk Allen and John Kraft.
We filed this court action on February 18, 2015 the day after the Park District Board took action in a public meeting without properly notifying the public what they were voting on or what action they were taking - as required by the Open Meetings Act, Section 2(e).
This was initially a pro se lawsuit, but we ended up hiring Jacob Smallhorn, Tapella & Eberspacher LLC, Charleston, Illinois to prosecute this on our behalf.
In this case, the Park District actually filed for sanctions against us claiming we were the Edgar County Watchdogs (true), and ran a website called Illinois Leaks (true), and that this was filed simply to harass the board and it was frivolous (both false). The Circuit Court denied their Motion for Sanctions and the park board did not appeal that denial.
Some key statements made in this Opinion reversing the Circuit Court are:
- "the public was uninformed of what was being leased"
- "the Board's recital failed to so inform"
- "whatever the standard might be for public recital, the Board failed to meet it in this case"
- "we are confident that no matter what standard the supreme court eventually adopts, the public recital given by the Board in this case was insufficient'
- and (in my opinion the most important indication of the Board's intent) found in paragraphs 6 and 31 of this Opinion, where when asked by a citizen what they just passed, Ron Stone and Larry Yargus both declined to inform that citizen by claiming what they just passed had to be recorded at the courthouse before anyone could look at it
Now that the Motion to Dismiss is reversed, this case should progress through the Circuit Court and a hearing date should be set to hear the case.
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