Power Structure Turns Back Riverside-Brookfield School District 208 Electioneering Lawsuit

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CHICAGO—The president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA) condemned the unresponsiveness of the legal system in Illinois, which denied an appeal by taxpayers who sued Riverside-Brookfield Sch. Dist. 208 for illegal electioneering.

“It’s mindboggling the extent to which local judges protect the status quo, even in the face of convincing evidence that a local government-school district engaged in illegal electioneering in trying to pass a property tax increase referendum,” said Jim Tobin, TUA President.

Representing homeowners, TUA had joined with Anthony J. Peraica & Associates in appealing the decision of Judge Leroy K. Martin’s July 17, 2012 ruling, in which he dismissed with prejudice their lawsuit against Riverside-Brookfield Sch. Dist. 208.

Plaintiffs Peraica and TUA had charged that the school district used illegal electioneering in its failed attempt to pass a property tax increase referendum in the April 5, 2011 election.

The appellate court affirmed Judge Martin’s dismissal of the lawsuit on Oct. 31, 2013.

“While we are disappointed in the appellate court’s decision, we were successful in defeating the April 5, 2011 property tax increase referendum despite the shady tactics of Sch. Dist. 208,” said Tobin.

“Our efforts on behalf of taxpayers against devious school districts led to the most important reform legislation in the 97th Illinois General Assembly: SB3314, introduced by St. Sen. Don Harmon (D-39 Oak Park), which was the direct result of the lawsuits filed by TUA against Oak Park D-97 and Wilmette D-39 school districts for using ballot language that purposely mislead taxpayers by understating by 300%, the property tax increase resulting from passage of a referendum. SB3314 makes this practice of duping voters illegal.”

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