Friday, December 12, 2008

News-Star: "Judge KOs Restraining Order"

The News-Star has put out a Web Extra about the Wilson Yard TRO denial:

Temporary stop-work order for Wilson Yard denied


Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Rochford denied an Uptown community group's request to temporarily halt construction of the Wilson Yard development in a hearing that lasted four hours Thursday afternoon.

The Uptown community group, Fix Wilson Yard, claims to represent more than 2,000 Chicago residents. Members filed a lawsuit Dec. 3 against the city of Chicago and private developers stating that both had violated state laws in the creation, planning and implementation of the Wilson Yard TIF District. At the heart of the lawsuit is the Wilson Yard mixed-use development that would include a Target store and affordable rental housing at Broadway and Montrose.

Ald. Helen Shiller (46th Ward) and developer Peter Holsten attended the hearing in support of the city and various entities set up by Holsten Real Estate Development that are financing the Wilson Yard development.

The lawsuit claims that the site did not need an infusion of $50 million in public funds because the area was already in economic recovery when the Wilson Yard TIF ordinance was created in 2001. The residents' attorney, Tom Ramsdell, argued that a city-funded study by a private consultant was flawed when it determine that a 34-block area comprising the Wilson Yard TIF District was eligible for public funding. Ramsdell said because of the flawed study, the Wilson Yard TIF district was invalid.

"There are a group of losers out there called taxpayers who are being asked to put in $62 million for an invalid TIF," Ramsdell said.

Chicago Corporation Counsel attorney Mike Dolich told the judge that that the plaintiffs failed to prove how they were being harmed, thus negating their call for a restraining order. Dolich said that if a temporary restraining order was issued, he would ask the plaintiffs to put up a bond to cover financial losses.

"It doesn't state how the plaintiffs will be damaged by the project, except for vague statements about diminished property values," Dolich said. "They have not presented why this project is bad."

Holsten's attorney Tom Johnson said that his client would lose about $50,000 a day if work at the site was temporarily shut down.

Rochford said the plaintiffs' claims had merit, but in the end ruled against issuing a temporary stop-work order.

"There are too many things in place for a temporary restraining order," Rochford said. "Other partners are involved. There is a business here before me [Target] who has purchased the land and construction employees. I think there were would be significant harm if we stopped the job for 60 to 90 days."


  1. I'm glad she said the claim had merit. I didn't think they'd grant the temporary restraining order because there are other ways to deal with our financial harm (like tax rebates).

  2. Will they file a petition for a preliminary injunction?

  3. This had almost zero percent chance of being granted.

    There's still a huge obstacle in the way in the legal plan: The Burkes(Ed and Anne).

    Good luck FWY.