Island Lake mayor's lawsuit dropped
It's official: The four-month legal battle between Island Lake Mayor Debbie Herrmann and two trustees is over.
Less than a week after the village board approved a litany of policy changes that undid much of the actions Herrmann claimed illegally eroded her executive powers, Lake County Associate Judge Mitchell Hoffman on Tuesday dismissed the case.
“The litigation is officially over, and the village board can now focus on issues important to the village and its residents,” Julie Tappendorf, an attorney for the village whose firm represented Herrmann in the case, said in an email.
Trustee Donna O'Malley, one of the defendants in the legal action, said she wasn't happy with the settlement terms but acknowledged the matter is done.
“It is what it is,” O'Malley said.
Herrmann had sued O'Malley, Trustee Laurie Rabattini and now-former trustees Don Saville and John Ponio in March after the quartet pushed forward a slew of policy changes and ordinances that chipped away at Herrmann's mayoral powers, particularly her ability to hire a law firm and key village personnel.
Saville and Ponio left the board in May and later were dropped from the lawsuit.
The settlement, approved Aug. 11 by a 4-2 board vote, undid most of the foursome's efforts and settled other issues, such as payments to the lawyers involved.
O'Malley and Rabattini — neither of whom attended the July closed-door meeting that led to the settlement — voted against the 11-point deal.
Rabattini declined to comment Tuesday. Herrmann could not be reached for comment.
O'Malley defended the actions she and the other three trustees took against Herrmann, saying she felt like the village was being run like “a dictatorship” at the time. She remains upset about what she called the town's “astronomical legal bills,” which have far surpassed those of neighboring villages during the dispute.
Still, O'Malley said she would move forward peacefully now that the lawsuit has been dismissed.