McHenry Co. (ECWd)-
"My charge is clear and that is to bring this matter to a conclusion to staunch the bleeding of attorney's fees from the public treasury."
That was the statement from Township attorney John Nelson, in a letter sent to all the attorneys involved in the Road District vs. Bob Miller and Lukasik lawsuit and a proposed settlement order.
Let's look at the "bleeding" of attorney fees comment as it applies to this case in question. While we understand Algonquin Township and Road District have spent a fortune on legal bills, the term bleeding has meaning. To us, "bleeding" is what happens when steps are taken to keep things in the court rather than resolve them or doing work that results in fees but does nothing to advance the goal of ending a case.
Let's start with James Kelly, the primary Township attorney.
- Kelly took steps to intervene in this matter. Doing so allows billing, even though there was no need for him to do so as the Township did not have any dog in this fight.
- The Township had to hire Nelson because of possible conflicts Kelly may have.
- The Township chose to pay the legal bills of the Millers.
In this case, all the attorney fees "bleeding" from the public treasury of the Township are done by choice of the Township Board.
The Township did not need to intervene in this case, which would have prevented the hiring of another attorney, and the township does not have to pay Miller's legal bills.
So how did we get to this point?
When Bob Miller lost his Motion to Dismiss and the doors of discovery opened up again, panic set in. The first sign of that was when Lukasik attempted to basically extort money from the township in exchange for withdrawing her counterclaim, all to avoid depositions. Her actions were covered in this article. That attempt failed, rightfully so.
The most telling step in this matter is James Kelly and his intervention. What few may understand is this was done as a means of getting the township into the fight with a plan of attempting to have the Township pay Miller's liabilities in the civil action brought by the Road District, rather than let him pay for it himself. Had Kelly not intervened, the scheme to have the Township pay for Miller's liabilities would not work. They had to be included, thus Kelly's intervention on behalf of the Township. We can only wonder if the Township Board directed and or approved this action.
To keep it simple, the board who is complaining of legal bills, is not only paying all of them by clear choice, but they want to go the next step and pay potential liabilities stemming from Miller's actions at the Road District.
And right now is when the anti-gasser crowd is wanting us to talk about Gasser's legal bills in this matter. No problem.
There are none!
Gasser's Attorney, Rob Hanlon, had not billed for this case and made that clear, but it would appear a few people have forgotten that point.
Nelson stated in his letter: "The Algonquin Township Board simply wants to end this litigation to avoid thousands and thousands of dollars of future litigation."
If that statement is true, the solution is simple.
- Lukasik should withdraw her counterclaim, especially in light of her admission she has no facts to support her claim.
- The Township Board should stop paying Miller's legal bills as they are not required to and while some may argue he can be indemnified under law, that is correct, but it would apply to the Road District, not the Township. That is because the actions in question were against the Road District, not the Township. The Township has no dog in this fight and there was no need for Kelly to intervene other than for the purpose of more billing and helping the Millers by having the taxpayers pay his potential liabilities in a crafted plan that fails to meet the legal muster of acceptance by numerous attorneys and even a criminal prosecutor.
- The Township Board should terminate James Kelly as their attorney.
Attached to Nelson's letter was a proposed Settlement Order that we understand has been rejected by Miller and Gasser. Thomas Gooch outlines why it is rejected in his letter and Robert Hanlon, in great detail, outlines why he rejects the proposal as well. We encourage everyone to read all the documents to grasp what is really happening here.
Of interest is the fact both Gooch and Hanlon point out how Nelson is not responding to them. You would think if a resolution is truly his goal a response would be provided sooner rather than later, not to mention having an actual agreement with all parties before spending more money drafting a document that gets rejected immediately.
Certain people took steps to have the Township pay for potential civil liabilities stemming from the action of an Officer of another public body. That is like saying the McHenry County Board is going to pay for the civil liabilities found against a Woodstock police officer. It's neither legal nor a power given to our local government, yet that is what this trifecta of Township Attorneys have crafted and convinced the Township Board to do.
You can read Nelson's letter and the proposed settlement order drafted by Nelson by downloading it at this link or view below.