Tuesday night Riverside resident Tony Peraica offered to drop his lawsuit against Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 if the school board appoints an independent investigator to find out whether school resources were used to advocate for the school’s property tax referendum.
Peraica, a former member of the Cook County Board who was defeated when he ran for his third term in November, made his offer during the public comment portion of the May 17 school board meeting.
He said that an independent investigation would avoid the expense of a lawsuit.
“The choice is yours,” Peraica told the school board. “I hope you will act wisely and take the less expensive route.”
Last month Peraica and the Chicago based anti-tax group Taxpayers United of America sued District 208 and the then-members of the District 208 school board, alleging that taxpayers’ money and resources were used in the referendum campaign.
“I’m not out to take money from Riverside-Brookfield High School’s already pressed budget,” Peraica said. “I felt a point had to be made.”
After speaking for nearly 10 minutes, Peraica was cut off by Interim Superintendent David Bonnette, who told Peraica he had exceeded the time limit for public comment.
“The school district is going to vigorously defend itself, and you will hear from our attorney,” said a visibly angry Bonnette. “It’s totally inappropriate for you to appear here and make this request. Your comments are totally fallacious.”
New school board member Tim Walsh, an attorney who was not named in the lawsuit because he was not on the school board during the referendum campaign, said that since RBHS is represented by a lawyer, it was inappropriate for Peraica to try and settle the suit by making a direct appeal to the school board instead of communicating through the school district’s attorney.
“He should have talked to our attorney,” Walsh said after the meeting.
District 208 school board President Matt Sinde said that since the case is pending, he couldn’t say much.
“It’s a lawsuit and I can’t really discuss it,” Sinde said. “I’ll talk to our lawyer.”