COD trustee calls on one of college's law firms to step down

  • Dianne McGuire

    Dianne McGuire

Updated 11/5/2015 4:36 PM

A College of DuPage trustee is calling on one of the school's law firms to be replaced, even though the board majority has no intention of making that change.

Trustee Dianne McGuire twice voted against hiring Rathje and Woodward, which was first hired on April 30 to work on an interim basis. Then, in August, the board voted 4-2 to keep the Wheaton-based law firm to provide general legal counsel.


Now in a letter to Tim Elliott, the Rathje and Woodward attorney representing COD, McGuire is asking him and his firm "to do the right thing and resign as counsel to the College of DuPage."

McGuire says she wants the firm replaced because of, among other things, Elliott's close relationship with former clients who have been adversaries of the college. She also said the firm was appointed "in a most nontransparent manner."

"There was no procurement process for your initial appointment," the Nov. 3 letter reads. "The subsequent process was a sham because the fix was in. The board did not even go through the most rudimentary of procurement processes before it selected you and Rathje and Woodward again (in August) as its counsel ..."

On Thursday, McGuire said the firm's presence at COD is preventing board members from getting along.

"It's a continuing source of discontent and discord on the board to have him (Elliott) seated there," she said.

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Elliott responded this week by saying McGuire's claims are "not remotely accurate." Still, he said the firm would step down if the board wants it to.

That would, however, require a 4-3 vote, which is unlikely given the board's current makeup.

"Trustee McGuire submitted these concerns to the board," Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton said in a statement. "The board voted her down."

Hamilton says McGuire has made false claims about the firm's billings. In addition, she strongly disputes McGuire's assertion that Rathje and Woodward withholds information from minority board members.

"Tim Elliott and Rathje (and) Woodward have performed valiantly in the face of her crass, baseless, personal and indeed political vituperation," Hamilton said. "Trustee McGuire owes Tim Elliott an apology, and all District 502 residents owe him a debt of gratitude."

On Thursday, McGuire acknowledged that Elliott will most likely continue representing the school despite her letter. "I just need it to be on the record," she said. "He needs to go."

• Daily Herald staff writer Kerry Lester contributed to this report.

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