East Dundee officials amended a complaint against ComEd this week to secure monetary damages, including $500,000 in penalties for the utility denying an easement to Insurance Auto Auctions, a business that sells wrecked vehicles to the highest bidder.
The village filed the complaint with the Illinois Commerce Commission in July so a judge would simply overturn the utility's decision.
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But after consulting with its attorney, the village added language into the complaint that seeks the $500,000 civil penalty on top of punitive damages, attorney's fees, costs and other damages for "all loss, damages and injury resulting from ComEd's improper denial of IAA's permit request for a utility and roadway easement," documents said.
It took more than a year for ComEd to respond IAA's request to use the easement, and when it finally did, the answer was no, the complaint said.
That forces IAA to spend $695,000 to access its own business from another road. And East Dundee Village President Lael Miller alleges ComEd's delay cost the village between $150,000 and $250,000 in lost revenue. The next court date is Oct. 28 in Chicago.
"Commonwealth Edison has not done their job, so without any kind of damages, Commonwealth Edison will continue to do things this way," Miller said. "This might get their attention."
Miller says the utility bowed to political pressure from Barrington Hills residents who did not want IAA in East Dundee over concerns the company would poison their groundwater.
Robert Abboud, Barrington Hills' former village president, has admitted he urged ComEd President and CEO Anne Pramaggiore and her husband, Michael Harrington, a trustee on the Barrington Hills village board, to deny access to the easement. The couple live in Barrington Hills.
A ComEd spokeswoman, meanwhile, says politics had nothing to do with the utility's refusal to grant the easement.
"ComEd denied IAA's request for an easement across ComEd's property based on appropriate business concerns, including the potential for adverse environmental impacts arising from the proposed use," ComEd spokeswoman Martha Arendt said. "East Dundee's allegations are without merit and ComEd will address them in the ICC proceedings."