It appears that lawyers for Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 will soon file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against it and school board members by former Cook County Board Commissioner Tony Peraica and the anti-tax group Taxpayers United.
Lawyers for RB reportedly will also seek sanctions against the plaintiffs’ attorney for filing a frivolous lawsuit.
That’s what Andrew Spiegel, the attorney for the plaintiffs, told the Landmark Monday when contacted about the status of the lawsuit.
“I was contacted by the attorneys that are going to be representing the board, and they’re going to be filing an answer and a motion to dismiss, and I’m going to probably file an amended complaint before that,” Spiegel said.
District 208 school board President Matt Sinde declined to comment about the lawsuit, saying that he would not talk about pending litigation.
RBHS Superintendent Kevin Skinkis said that he was not prepared to talk about the lawsuit.
“I’m still getting to know all the facts and everything about the case,” said Skinkis, who took over as superintendent on July 1. “We are working with our legal representation, so I could not even provide comment at this time, because it is now between the lawyers.”
Todd Faulkner, District 208’s attorney, wasn’t saying much either.
“We are in communication with the plaintiffs’ attorney, Andrew Spiegel, and other than that we have no comment on the status of the lawsuit,” Faulkner said Monday afternoon.
In May, Peraica attended a District 208 school board meeting and made a public offer to drop the lawsuit if the school board would appoint an independent outside investigator to look at allegations of illegal election activities by the district or district staff and agree to take action based on the investigator’s report.
At that meeting, then-District 208 Interim Superintendent David Bonnette told Peraica that the district intended to vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit.
But Peraica says that shortly after the meeting he got a phone call from Faulkner, indicating an interest in his offer.
“He sounded very interested and agreed with me that this was certainly a possibility,” Peraica said.
But Peraica said that he has heard nothing from Faulkner since that initial phone call two months ago.
“I have not heard a single word,” Peraica said. “I called their attorney a couple times, left messages and he chose not to return my calls, so I have no idea what they’re thinking.”
Peraica said that he is disappointed by the lack of response to his offer.
“Frankly, I thought that the proposal that I put forth both to the attorney for the district and to the members of the school board was one that would save the taxpayers money, provide for the clearing of the air and a restoration of credibility by the school district and its former board members,” Peraica said. “In the meantime, they have chosen apparently not to avail themselves of that low-cost option, and I can only anticipate that they will spend thousands litigating this unnecessarily.”
Before the lawsuit was filed, Sinde and board member Mike Welch indicated that they wanted an investigation of activities at RBHS regarding the referendum.
But both Welch and Sinde refused to comment about Peraica’s offer.
The school board, including the four former members who left the board in May, has met twice in closed session to discuss the lawsuit. On July 7, Bonnette attended a closed-session meeting with Faulkner, the four former members of the board who were named in the lawsuit, the current board members and Skinkis.
It was the first school board meeting Skinkis attended as superintendent.