Days after another contentious court hearing and a little more than a week after the Lyons Township School Treasurer’s Office, commonly known as the TTO, transferred a little more than $4.5 million to Lyons Township High School, the school district offered to mediate the issues remaining as it seeks to depart from the TTO.
“LT presented a mediation proposal to the TTO,” said LTHS District 204 Superintendent Brian Waterman in an email to the Landmark. “If accepted, mediation would involve the parties’ representatives and their counsel meeting with a retired judge who would work as an intermediary to help reach a compromise.”
LTHS District 204 and the TTO have been arguing about how much money the high school is due after a verdict in May capped an eight-year legal saga. At its September meeting, the TTO board voted to reduce LTHS’s account by a little more than $1.2 million because of what Treasurer Ken Getty termed an over-allocation of investment income to the high school over the past 25 years.
District 204 argues that Judge Jerry Esrig’s ruling in the lawsuit the TTO filed against LTHS in 2013 resolved that issue and found that there was no proof of over-allocation of investment income to LTHS.
“They’re taking the same issue and they’re trying to repackage it,” LTHS lawyer Jay Hoffman told Cook County Circuit Court Judge Cecilia Horan during an approximately seven-hour hearing on Oct.6.
LTHS is seeking a preliminary injunction barring the TTO from doing anything with $6 million the TTO set aside in two bank accounts shortly after transferring approximately $41.7 million to LTHS at the end of June.
The TTO maintains that the $4,564,087.88 it transferred to LTHS on Sept. 28 essentially completes its transfer of money to LTHS.
The Oct. 6 hearing featured a morning of procedural wrangling during which Horan denied a motion by the TTO’s lawyers to transfer the case to Judge Jerry Esrig, who presided over the bench trial in the lawsuit.
Getty spent about four hours testifying, mostly being grilled by Hoffman. Getty maintained that the $4.5 million sent to LTHS was the final payment owed to LTHS.
At a minimum, the high school eventually wants the TTO board to reverse action it took at its Sept. 23 meeting, which reduced LTHS’s balance by a little more than $1.2 million.
In accepting the latest transfer of funds from the TTO, Waterman wrote to Getty saying that does not mean that LTHS is agreeing that is the correct amount due to the high school.
Hoffman says LTHS doesn’t know exactly how much money it is due because the TTO books are so opaque. High school officials had proposed a financial auditor examine the TTO’s books, but the TTO has not agreed to this. In September Getty cancelled a meeting with LTHS officials that had been scheduled to discuss the matter.
Waterman is hopeful that mediation can resolve the dispute.
“The mediation would be conducted with a private group that Judge Horan recommended prior to the Nov. 5 court hearing,” Waterman said.” We will wait to hear whether the TTO will accept or reject our proposal.”
A call to TTO board President Mike Thiessen requesting comment was not returned.