Grafton Township can finally celebrate its freedom from a litany of lawsuits.
The Second District Appellate Court this week dismissed the last of the three lawsuits that involved former Supervisor Linda Moore.
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"This is a big thing off our plate -- we know the lawsuits are completed," Township Supervisor James Kearns said Wednesday. "To have these lawsuits gone we know that all the wasting of money has stopped."
In the most recently dismissed case, Moore and the former board were appealing a 2010 ruling in which a McHenry County judge ordered trustees to stop interfering with Moore's job, told them to eliminate the township administrator position and to fire the acting township attorney.
The ruling also reaffirmed Moore's authority to hire and fire township employees, ordered her to pay the township bills promptly and told her to stop taking the township's financial records out of the township. The original lawsuit, filed by Moore against the board, the township and the township's acting attorney, sought to stop the board from undermining her authority as supervisor.
Moore said the board usurped her power in part when it hired an administrator to perform many of her duties and blocked her access to township computers by changing the passwords. The board filed a countersuit.
The appellate court Monday dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds it was moot since most of the parties are no longer in office.
Township Attorney Joseph Gottemoller said the township is ready to move on.
"Their goal ultimately is to get off the front page and do what they're supposed to do," Gottemoller said. "Govern. They want to do their job and not be the laughingstock."
That lawsuit, as well as two others between the township assessor and Moore and between the former road district commissioner and Moore resulted in more than $650,000 in legal fees, which left the township on the brink of a government shutdown. A McHenry County judge dismissed those two lawsuits in May and June.
The recently dismissed lawsuit was the most expensive, largest and most complicated of the three cases filed during Moore's administration, according to her attorney, John Nelson. He said the dismissal marks a victory for taxpayers.
"They are no longer going to be funding litigation over these complicated issues that involve separation of powers and some fairly complicated constitutional law as it applied to townships," Nelson said.