A federal judge gave the Village of North Riverside some welcome news recently, granting the village’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by the Village of Broadview. On April 26, Judge Wayne R. Andersen ruled that Broadview had no legal standing to challenge North Riverside’s 2004 annexation of the Illinois National Guard Armory at the corner of Cermak Road and First Avenue.
Representatives for both Broadview and North Riverside will be back before Andersen in United States District Court on Friday for a status hearing. Although the judge has dismissed the complaint against North Riverside, Broadview’s attorney said last week that he will file a motion for the judge to reconsider his ruling. He also contended that the other party to the lawsuit, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was not included in the Andersen’s April 26 opinion that ruled in North Riverside’s favor.
“The opinion is specific to North Riverside,” said James Durkin of the law firm of Wildman Harrold, who represents the Village of Broadview. “We have the right to have the judge reconsider the ruling, and it still technically leaves the Army Corps in as a party [to the suit].”
North Riverside Mayor Richard Scheck said last week that North Riverside still had not been officially notified of the judge’s opinion, but expected it to be confirmed during the June 2 hearing. Scheck declined to comment further on the case until after that date.
Durkin said that it may still be many months before the case is settled. North Riverside, he said, will likely want to reply to his motion for the judge to reconsider his ruling. That reply would then be followed by a response from the Village of Broadview.
Andersen’s opinion on April 26 came after several months of deliberation. North Riverside had asked the court to dismiss the case back in September 2005.
“It could take some time,” Durkin said.
North Riverside began its bid to annex the 40-acre National Guard Maintenance Facility as far back as 2002, according to court documents. The deal was finalized in August 2004, when North Riverside trustees adopted an ordinance claiming the land for the village.
At the time, Scheck said the annexation provided ” an insulation for us to control our own destiny for years to come.”
While the National Guard hasn’t ever said it would abandon its maintenance facility, a 2002 memo included in court documents related to the lawsuit states that the Illinois National Guard’s license to occupy the property expires in March 2009.
According to the lawsuit, Broadview claims it wasn’t notified of the impending annexation and would have opposed it if it had been. When North Riverside first attempted to lay claim to the property in 1985, the suit contends, Broadview asserted its own claim to the property, pointing out that the land had been incorporated inside the Village of Broadview prior to the existence of the armory.
In August 2005, Broadview filed the suit against North Riverside in Cook County Circuit Court contesting the annexation. The suit was subsequently moved to federal court, since the United States of America was named as a co-defendant.
Broadview’s lawsuit contends that in its most recent, so-far successful annexation of the armory property, North Riverside “misled the Army into thinking that Broadview did not object, and avoided the statutory notice requirement for the underlying annexation agreement in order to accomplish its mission without Broadview being able to voice its objection.”
In addition, Broadview contends that since it provided water service to the armory, the annexation would be “detrimental to the economic base of the Village of Broadview’s municipal water distribution system.”
But Andersen, in his ruling, said that the loss of water revenue was not enough to bring the suit, noting that Broadview would also be relieved of water system maintenance should the land belong to North Riverside.
With regard to alleged misrepresentations, Andersen wrote in his opinion that Broadview “simply is not the correct party to assert misrepresentation. The misrepresentations by the Village of North Riverside were made to the United States of America, and it was the United States of America that acted, relied and was arguably damaged by those misrepresentations.”
Andersen also stated that Broadview had not proven that North Riverside’s annexation agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers was invalid.