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updated: 6/4/2014 6:08 PM

Bank says W. Dundee held "shotgun meeting" to block Salvation Army

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  • The Bank of Camden, which owns Spring Hill Gateway East strip mall shown here in West Dundee, accuses the village of holding a "hastily arranged, shotgun meeting" to block the opening of a Salvation Army store near Spring Hill Mall.

      The Bank of Camden, which owns Spring Hill Gateway East strip mall shown here in West Dundee, accuses the village of holding a "hastily arranged, shotgun meeting" to block the opening of a Salvation Army store near Spring Hill Mall.
    Daily Herald File Photo

 
 

Bank of Camden, the financier for Spring Hill Gateway East in West Dundee, accuses the village in an amended lawsuit of improperly preventing the Salvation Army from opening at the mall.

The Salvation Army was looking to open a store that would have sold 51 percent new and 49 percent used merchandise inside the mostly vacant 60,000-square-foot mall just east of Spring Hill.

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But last month, after imposing a 90-day moratorium on approving used goods stores, the village board endorsed new zoning regulations that restrict those types of businesses to the Century Plaza strip mall on Route 31.

On May 9, the village's business license commission sent a letter to the Salvation Army that subsequently denied its application for a business license, the bank's amended complaint said.

That denial came after the commission held an unannounced meeting on the topic three days earlier, the complaint further stated.

"The May 6, 2014 BLC meeting was a hastily arranged, shotgun meeting which resulted in a blatant disregard and violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act," the suit states. "As a result, the action as reflected in the May 9 letter is void."

In addition to violating the Open Meetings Act, the amendment also accuses the village of improperly denying the business license application and of improperly using money for the mall's redevelopment to pay attorney's fees. A judge accepted the amended complaint Wednesday in the Northern District of Illinois' federal court.

"No one wants this litigation -- it's not something I think anyone desires," said Dan Shapiro, an attorney who represents the Bank of Camden. "But what we do want is for the village not to move the goal posts in the middle of the game."

The amendment is included in an existing lawsuit the bank filed against the village in 2012 that seeks more than $600,000 in special service area tax money the village refuses to hand over for the mall's redevelopment.

Village officials have said the bank hasn't taken a serious interest in the mall's economic development. The Bank of Camden is only asking that the judge stop the village from using the SSA money for attorney's fees.

Meanwhile, Village President Chris Nelson says he isn't concerned about the amendment to the existing lawsuit.

"We followed the process and there was no Open Meetings Act violation, despite the plaintiff's claims," Nelson said. "It's just another element that they've thrown in there."

West Dundee has two weeks to respond to the complaint.

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