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Article updated: 8/20/2013 6:33 PM

Judge again throws out East Dundee's lawsuit over Carpentersville Walmart

By Harry Hitzeman

In February a judge denied East Dundee's move for a temporary restraining order and also threw out a lawsuit aimed at preventing Walmart from receiving funding from a special taxing district to help build a store in Carpentersville.

Tuesday was essentially the same story.

Kane County Judge David Akemann dismissed the latest lawsuit against the world's largest retailer and Carpentersville, saying East Dundee had no standing in the case.

"He threw East Dundee out of court -- again. East Dundee has no basis for legal argument. It's tried three times and struck out three times," said Steve Elrod, Carpentersville city attorney, afterward.

Walmart announced last year it plans to build a 108,000-square-foot supercenter in Carpentersville off Route 25 and, in turn, close its 22-year-old store in East Dundee.

East Dundee's first lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled. The latest lawsuit included Walmart as a defendant in addition to the village of Carpentersville.

East Dundee Attorney Richard Gleason Tuesday argued Walmart should not be allowed to receive funding from a Tax Increment Financing District because the new site is three miles from the existing location, and state law mandates a distance of at least 10 miles to stop communities from poaching businesses from each other.

In a TIF District, property tax levels are frozen up to 23 years in a "blighted" area. As redevelopment occurs, the increased taxes from the land -- or "increment" -- are used to pay for new streets or infrastructure or given to a company or builder to help defray development costs.

Gleason argued that action was imminent: a TIF District has been established; Walmart has requested $4.2 million in funding from Carpentersville; and has a contract to buy some 24 acres for the new store.

But Akemann ruled that East Dundee did not have standing in the case because no TIF funding has been dispersed yet.

East Dundee officials said they will appeal Akemann's ruling.

Village President Lael Miller said officials just want to ensure TIF rules are followed because it affects taxpayers and more legal action could follow.

"It's obvious the judge is waiting for something to happen. If Walmart's going to leave, Walmart is going to leave," Miller said. "We don't think it's fair to the taxpayers. (Walmart) is going to a TIF (District) that's basically in the same neighborhood. They may break ground and they may start building. At that point it will be too late. We just want to see that they comply with the law."

Elrod again pointed to Akemann's rulings in favor of Carpentersville.

"The complaint was dismissed, that's the bottom line," Elrod said. "The village of Carpentersville remains confident its actions, past and present, have been and will be in complete compliance with the TIF Act. We are pleased the court confirmed that East Dundee has no basis to challenge Carpentersville. The village of Carpentersville looks forward to continuing its discussions with Walmart for a new store in Carpentersville."

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