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July 22, 2024

DuPage Twp, Trustees Oliver and Burgess sued; Allegations include illegal meeting, illegal censure of Trustee –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On December 12, 2020

DuPage Township, IL. (ECWd) –

On December 9, 2020, a lawsuit was filed naming DuPage Township Trustees Maripat Oliver and Ken Burgess, Supervisor Felix George, and the Township of DuPage as Defendants – this suit is concerning the alleged “special meeting” held on December 4, 2020.

It was truly a “special” meeting…

Facts alleged in the Complaint are as follows:

  • that the township did not comply with special meeting notice requirement found in the Township Code
  • that the township did not comply with the Open Meetings Act (OMA) when it did not set forth, on its agenda, items that would be subject to action (vote) – when it voted to censure a trustee
  • that the township did not comply with the OMA, Section 2(e), when it did not provide any public recital of the nature of the action to be taken, prior to any vote (see Allen v. Clark County Park District Board of Commissioners, 2016 IL App (4th) 150963 for case law on that Section of the OMA – it was also mentioned in Board of Education of Springfield School District No. 186 v. Attorney General, 2017 IL 120343)
  • that the township violated the OMA when it conducted a meeting without adequately providing for the electronic attendance of board members and the public by failing to provide a mechanism to where the electronic attendees could contemporaneously hear all discussion and votes
  • that the township entered into executive session for discussions on things not listed as an exception to open meetings – the alleged censure of a trustee
  • that the township took action on an item not properly listed as an action item on the agenda
  • that the defendants Oliver, Burgess, and George exceeded their statutory authority by voting to “censure” a trustee because neither the Township Code nor any other Illinois law grants the Township Board the power to censure one of their members

Plaintiffs Benford, Raga, and Kraft, are asking the Court for the following relief:

  • finding that Defendants violated the OMA, Section 2(e)(4) by not providing a means for electronic attendees to contemporaneously hear all discussion and votes
  • finding that Defendants entered into Executive Session without recitation of the applicable exemptions
  • finding that Defendants took action on an item not adequately disclosed on the agenda
  • finding that Defendants took action without authority under the Township Code, the Constitution, or any other Illinois law to censure a Trustee
  • finding that Defendants failed to provide adequate notice as required under the Township Code
  • enter a temporary and permanent injunction enjoining the Township Board from taking any official action to approve the minutes of the alleged special meeting of Dec 4, 2020
  • Order the purported vote to “censure” the trustee violated Art. VII, Section 8, of the Illinois Constitution and is void ab initio
  • Order the Township Board to immediately make available to the public the recording of the Dec 4, 2020 executive session audio
  • Issue a Writ of Mandamus compelling the Township Board to comply with the OMA regarding openness of its meetings
  • Award costs and attorney fees to Plaintiff

Read the Complaint, as filed, below (or HERE) – we will update this article with the file-stamped copy as soon as we can obtain a copy.

DuPage Twp Complaint SIGNED_Redacted


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1 Comment
  • Golden Country
    Posted at 09:41h, 13 December Reply

    The legislature should redefine what “key term” language is. Too many times open meeting agendas use vague language to hide behind an important topic. It is easy to define specifically what the topic is that will be put to a vote.
    Also it will be interesting to see how the court weighs in on electronic meetings. It is time every unit of government go back to in person meetings. You can do them safely and still comply with CDC directives.
    You have to wonder if every government official has taken the OMA training like they are required. It should be a prerequisite to holding an office.

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