Grafton Township Suit’s May 4th Transcript

McHenry County Blog has obtained a copy of the transcript of the May 4th court hearing in the separation of powers suit brought by Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore last spring after the Township Trustees tried to strip her of virtually all of her power by giving it to a newly-appointed Township Administrator.

The main result was Judge Michael Caldwell’s slapping down that effort, plus dismissing the Township Attorney that Moore tried to fire, Keri-Lyn Krafthefer, a partner an the law firm of Ancel Glink.

The township officials continue to disagree, which requires continuing intervention by Judge Caldwell.

In a moment of levity not captured on the transcript, Judge Caldwell ended the hearing by saying,

“And the beat goes on.”

Caldwell also tried the case instigated by allies of Moore and including Moore as a plaintiff before she took office as Township Supervisor which ruled that the former Township Board had failed to provide adequate notice when they approved construction of a new township hall. His ruling was upheld by the 2nd Appellate Court.

In the early May court hearing, which you can read here, Caldwell ruled that the Township Trustees must approve Moore’s selection for Township Attorney. That choice is the Rockford attorney John Nelson, who won her separation of powers case against the Trustees.

Needless to say, the Trustees do not want to do so and after the Judge’s ruling, their attorney Ancel Glink litigator Thomas DiCianni asked for a stay of the order so that he could appear what he said was a separation of powers question to the Appellate Court.

The final part of the transcript is reproduced below:

Judge Michael Caldwell

THE COURT: While I’m not unsympathetic to some of the arguments made by Mr. DiCianni, I think the separation of powers question is probably a little overly broad to be applied directly to this particular dispute, primarily because we’re dealing with a unit of
local government.

We are not dealing with the United States of America where the separation of powers between the legislative, judicial, and executive branches is far more important than it is here at the local level.

I am also sensitive to the fact that courts should not be and I believe are prohibited ordinarily from interfering with the exercise of legislative discretion. I don’t want to get involved in the idea
that I have to tell the township that they have to approve this road or this contract or anything else.

I did not run for circuit judge for the purpose of being the township supervisor or the — or a township trustee. I have no interest in running this — this unit of local government.

However, this is a case pending before me in a court of equity. I do have the power to enjoin what I consider to be the continuing violation of a statute.

I believe — I don’t know — This is personal for me. This is a personal remark. I probably shouldn’t make it, but I don’t really know why you would want this job.

But that having been said, I believe the failure or refusal of the trustees to approve Mr. Nelson as the township attorney is merely a pretext to continue their ongoing dispute with Linda Moore, the township supervisor.

It will therefore be my order that at the next regular meeting of the town board that the trustees reported McMahon, Murphy, and Zirk approve the appointment of John Nelson as the township attorney. The fact that he disagrees with them or they with him quite frankly is one of the qualifications for the job.

I don’t come to this dispute or the issue of being an attorney for a local government without considerable experience in this arena, having served as a municipal attorney for 30 years, 25 of those with the City of Woodstock. If I had a reputation for one thing (indiscernible) of those years, it was my ability to tell the aldermen or councilmen of the City of Woodstock or really for that matter any other unit of government I represented, things they didn’t want to hear in the first place.

So I don’t regard the ongoing dispute as being a conflict of interest that would bar Mr. Nelson from serving.

That will be my order.

I want the trustees mentioned by name in any draft order that you give.

Now, I also advise– Somebody is going to have to advise these people if they don’t follow it– They are free not to follow it, but that will activate contempt proceedings.

MR. DICIANNI: Well, I would — I suppose I will have to do this by written motion, but I will be moving to stay the order pending appeal.

THE COURT: It’s not ripe.

MR. DICIANNI: Well, I think it is. It’s an injunction, and injunctions can be appealed–



Grafton Township Suit’s May 4th Transcript — 8 Comments

  1. (60 ILCS 1/70‑37) Sec. 70‑37. Township attorney. The supervisor, with the advice and consent of the township board, may appoint a township attorney.

    So, based on his belief that ” refusal of the trustees to approve Mr. Nelson as the township attorney is merely a pretext to continue their ongoing dispute with Linda Moore,” Judge Caldwell is overturning Illinois law, and enforcing this decision with threats of contempt charges. In doing so, he is forcing taxpayers to pay Nelson twice his normal rate, $250 per hour, after we have been drowning in legal fees.

    He has removed all checks and balances from our township government, and turned Grafton into a dictatorship. If anyone disagrees with Linda, she holds the threat of contempt charges of them

  2. Jack if you feel so strongly about this, why not give us your true identity? Do you feel so strongly that you will put your name on your posts? If not, then what value does your opinion hold?

  3. I’ve seen too many good people slandered by people like you. My anonymity is my choice and my right, and does not diminish the facts.

    If you feel so strongly about using real names, then after you.

  4. Your dictatorship comment is your opinion, not a fact, it has no value without your idenity to back up your opinion. In my opinion it seems your opinion is one of an unstable person with a chip on their shoulder. Unless you lend your reputation to support your opinion just keep it to yourself.

  5. As the say Grafton Resident….”opinions are like ________. Everyone’s got one and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.”

    You saying that it is your opinion that Jack’s opinion is one of “an unstable person….” shows that you also have an opinion and what exactly makes your opinion more valuable than his? You don’t use your name either so it’s hypocritical to think that your opinion of Jack’s opinion is any more valuable.

    Also, just because you don’t agree with him does not mean that his First Amendment right of free speech should be taken away. You state your opinion without your identity, therefore, “unless you lend your reputation to support your opinion just keep it to yourself”.

    Jack supported his opinion with the towship code and I personally know many who share his opinion (they all have real names and are completely mentally sound).

  6. I find it interesting that rather than trying to dispute the facts, Grafton Resident is attempting to discredit me.

    I ask you, are these the actions of a duly elected official serving the interest of the voting public, or those of a dictator. At the April meeting, Linda basically threatened anyone who opposed her with legal action. During the interview of the potential auditor, she shot down any discussion that she felt did not support her goals. At this Thursday’s meeting, Linda attempted to pay off the loan in full, after being expressly told by the voting majority not to.

    As to the comment of me being the same person as Not a Grafton, I assure you I am not. Do you suffer from split personalities?

  7. Too funny Grafton Resident. You seriously believe that Jack and I are the same people? I’m assuming Jack is a male based on his name. And based on the fact that there’s a child growing inside me, I’m sure that I’m not a guy. There are also a number of other posters that post on here that could assure you that Jack and I are two separate people.

    Is it so hard to believe that there are a (possible large) number of people who do not support Linda Moore and her power trip? Because I know a much larger number of people who think she is abusing her power and over-reaching in every way than I know of people who think she’s doing even a decent job.

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