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River Forest Appeal Swiftly Denied, Village Chastised by Appellate Court

WEDNESDAY - JULY 21 - RIVER FOREST IL

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RIVER FOREST APPEAL SWIFTLY DENIED, VILLAGE CHASTISED BY APPELLATE COURT


The Village of River Forest recently filed a Petition for Rehearing with the First District Appellate Court of Illinois’ in an effort to overturn its June 25th decision, which stated that the illegal contract the Village imposed on Keystone Montessori School was void. The Petition was swiftly denied by a three judge panel, even before Keystone Montessori’s counsel, Mauck & Baker, could enter a reply.


Judges Sheldon Harris, Mary Mikva, and Oden Johnson sternly reiterated what their previous Opinion drove home:


“It is not the Opinion’s conclusion that Keystone had a right to waive the exemption that it somehow shared with some other entity, but that Keystone could not waive the exemption because the State created it to benefit the public and the negative consequences (or loss of that public benefit) from waiving it would not fall on Keystone alone.”


“The State extended the exemption to schools because of the benefits that schools, whether public or private, bring to the public. Forming an agreement with the Village purporting to waive the exemption could cause harm beyond the harm to Keystone alone, as Keystone alleged in its complaint.”


In other words, the Village of River Forest never had the right to coerce Keystone to relinquish its right to a real estate tax exemption in order for them to use the property; the tax exemption for all schools is provided by the Illinois Constitution.


The court suggests in the Order that such an abuse of power could have negative implications for any school, public or private.


The Court also seemingly expressed frustration with River Forest’s stubbornness with phrases such as, “The Village seizes upon a turn of a phrase in the Opinion…” and “As the Opinion states just after the previous quoted excerpt…”


Commenting on the swift and harsh order from the Appellate Court, attorney John Mauck of Mauck & Baker said, “Just how many judicial rebukes will it take before Village officials realize their extended litigation junket is harming not only the Montessori children and River Forest taxpayers, but also impugning any reputation River Forest may still have left as a village where law and justice are respected?”


Order re Petition for Rehearing
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