Mundelein settles legal fight with Ivanhoe over proposed Walmart

A 3½-year legal fight over a proposed Walmart in Mundelein could end this week.

After a closed-door discussion with their attorneys, village trustees on Monday night agreed to settle the lawsuit filed by residents in the unincorporated neighborhood called Ivanhoe.

The Ivanhoe Club property owners association and the Ivanhoe Club were plaintiffs in the complaint, too. The defendants included the village and the Rubloff Development Group, the company that developed the Walmart plan.

Mundelein Village Administrator John Lobaito and attorney Charles Marino would not disclose the terms of the settlement at the meeting. They said the agreement would be released only after all the parties involved in the lawsuit signed the deal, and then only after a Freedom of Information Act request is filed.

They said everyone could sign the deal by the end of this week.

Thomas Geselbracht, an attorney representing the Rubloff Development Group, said he’s read the proposed settlement but declined to comment.

The plaintiffs’ attorney could not be reached for comment.

The 2007 lawsuit, filed in Lake County circuit court against the village and Rubloff, concerned plans for a shopping center on Route 60 north of Route 176. The site is near the upscale neighborhood, and residents publicly opposed the plan.

The plaintiffs argued they were not able to properly make their case against the proposed center during the planning process. They also said the development would infringe on their property rights and hurt home values.

Last year, a Lake County judge ruled in the village’s favor and said officials acted reasonably and did not violate their planning rules. The plaintiffs appealed, and the case has remained in the appellate court for Illinois’ second district.

Despite the delays, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. still is interested in the site, officials said Tuesday.

“Once Walmart commits and builds there, historically these other spots fill in fairly quickly,” Trustee Steve Lentz said. “It’s like gravity.”

Mayor Kenneth H. Kessler called the project “a linchpin for numerous economic opportunities for the village,” one that he said will bring sales-tax revenue, jobs and road improvements.

The proposed settlement does not affect a separate lawsuit connected to the Walmart project.

Rubloff sued Supervalu, the parent company of the Jewel-Osco chain, last year in federal court for hiring a second firm to “harass and interfere with” the Mundelein development and a similar proposal in suburban New Lenox.

That case alleges Supervalu and a firm called Saint Consulting “orchestrated dirty tricks campaigns to defeat or otherwise delay the establishment of new Walmart stores,” including arranging legal representation for the Ivanhoe residents in their case against the village. Saint Consulting is named as a defendant, too.

Mundelein is not named in that lawsuit.