Court order stops city’s AHA board appointments, for now
By StephAnie Lulay firstname.lastname@example.org September 21, 2012 9:04PM
Updated: October 24, 2012 6:37AM
AURORA — A Kane County judge granted an injunction Friday that will keep the city of Aurora from seating two new members on the Housing Authority Board.
City Assistant Chief of Staff Rick Guzman said Housing Authority lawyers were granted a temporary restraining order by Judge Thomas Mueller that temporarily stops the city’s new AHA board appointees, Shauna Wiet and Scott Voris, from being seated to the board. The judge also granted the city’s counter temporary restraining order, which keeps the AHA board from voting on Jericho Circle redevelopment issues for now.
In addition to the order, the AHA is also asking the court to weigh in on the terms of AHA board members Al Schuler and Bill Burns. Mayor Tom Weisner has named Wiet and Voris to replace the Schuler and Burns.
Guzman said full arguments will be in two weeks. The court hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 3 at the Geneva courthouse.
Former Appellate Court Judge R. Peter Grometer is representing the city in the case. AHA attorney Jennifer Soule is representing the Housing Authority.
While the judge’s ruling keeps the board from making any Jericho Circle redevelopment decisions for now, he also granted an AHA request to allow the AHA board to vote on a Jericho Circle demolition contract, Guzman said. The city does not object to the demolition, he said.
Earlier this month, Soule said the expiration dates for board members Schuler and Burns were recorded incorrectly by the city. Soule said Schuler’s term should expire in 2014, and Burns’ term in 2013.
City officials, however, said the terms of both Schuler and Burns actually expired this month. Guzman said the City Council minutes specifically list term expiration dates for Burns and Schuler.
Under Illinois code, Burns and Schuler both should have been reappointed to five-year terms, the AHA attorney argued. But city attorneys said the city’s home rule authority trumps the statutory five-year terms.
The Aurora City Council was slated to vote on Weisner’s new AHA board appointees Tuesday. Because of the court hearing, Guzman said the city will likely delay the vote until the matter is resolved.
Guzman said taxpayers “ought to be concerned” about the amount of money both sides are spending on lawyers. He called the court case “unnecessary.”
“All of this relates to the Housing Authority deciding that Jericho Circle is the only place that (affordable housing) can be rebuilt,” he said. “An awful lot of money has been spent on that when the city is ready to talk about alternative sites.”
Soule could not be reached Friday.
New developer, executive director
In a special meeting Wednesday, Housing Authority officials introduced the new developer slated to redevelop the Jericho Circle site, Brinshore-Michaels LLC.
In July, the AHA nixed a Jericho redevelopment agreement with CG Partners.
The Housing Authority will introduce a new executive director and vote on a contract to demolish the existing buildings at the Jericho site at a board meeting at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the AHA Plum Street offices.
The city and the Housing Authority have been waging an extended battle over redevelopment at the Jericho Circle public housing complex site on Jericho Road on the southwest side.