Federal Judge Refuses to Stop McHenry Township Road District Consolidation Referendum

The coalition of Democrats and Independents supporting a continued independent McHenry Township lost in Federal Court Friday when Judge Frederick Kapala agreed with the reasoning of Township Attorney James Militello III.

The decision is below:


Plaintiffs’ motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction [7] is denied. The
previously filed motion seeking the same relief [4] is denied as moot.


Plaintiffs, Robert Beltran and 29 other voters and electors having residence in the Township of McHenry, have sued the McHenry Township Board of Trustees, the McHenry County Clerk, the McHenry Township Road District, the McHenry Township HighwayCommissioner, and the Illinois Board of Elections.

Plaintiffs allege violations of their Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection, as well as state-law violations, in connection with defendants alleged failure to follow the votes of the electors to obtain a cost study analysis before seeking to abolish the Road District of the Township of McHenry.

Plaintiffs previously sought leave to file a quo warranto complaint in the Circuit Court for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, McHenry County, Illinois, alleging the Township of McHenry’s willful failure to conduct a cost study analysis in regard to the following ballot question.

Shall the Road District of the Township of McHenry be abolished with all the rights,
powers, duties, assets, property, liabilities, obligations, and responsibilities, being
assumed by the Township of McHenry?
____ yes
_____ no

The state court issued a memorandum decision and order concluding that “[p]etitioners have failed to show that they are entitled to quo warranto relief for the Board’s conduct . . . in failing to commission a study related to its Road District abolishment.”

The state court went on to find “that Petitioners and other electors lack the statutory authority to direct the Board to obtain and pay for a study regarding abolishing the Road District.”

Plaintiffs have appealed this ruling to the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District.

Now before this federal district court is plaintiffs’ motion for temporary restraining order (“TRO”) and preliminary injunction seeking an order restraining the McHenry County Clerk from including the same question on the ballot.

Defendants contend that under the abstention doctrine outlined in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), this federal court should not interfere with pending state judicial proceedings.

In fact:

[t]he Younger abstention doctrine requires federal courts to abstain from enjoining ongoing state proceedings that are

  1.  judicial in nature,
  2.  implicate important state interests, and
  3. offer an adequate opportunity for review of constitutional claims,
  4. so long as no extraordinary circumstances exist which would make abstention inappropriate.

Green v. Benden, 281 F.3d 661, 666 (7th Cir. 2002).

There is no dispute and this court finds that elements one and two are satisfied.

As to the third element, at the hearing on the motion for TRO, the court asked plaintiffs’ counsel why the claims plaintiffs are advancing before this court and the injunctive relief they are seeking could not have been brought in and sought from the state court.

In response, plaintiffs’ counsel spoke in terms of the “limited scope” of the state action, she said that the “gears of justice were not in position to move with elasticity,” and that she expected a “more equal examination here.”

Whether that is so or not, the court is not satisfied that the state court did not offer an adequate opportunity for review of the constitutional claims now being advanced in this court.

Therefore, the court finds that the state-court proceedings [before Judge Kevin Costello] did constitute an adequate opportunity to raise the due process and equal protection claims plaintiffs seek to advance before this court.

See Behavioral Inst. of Ind., LLC v. Hobart City of Common Council, 406 F.3d 926, 932 (7th Cir. 2005) (“State courts have jurisdiction over § 1983 claims.”); Garcia v. Vill. of Mount Prospect, 360 F.3d 630, 639 (7th Cir. 2004) (“[T]he states and the federal government share concurrent jurisdiction over . . . § 1983 claims.).

“It matters not whether [plaintiffs] actually presented these challenges in state court. When a litigant has not attempted to present his federal claims in related state-court proceedings, a federal court should assume that the state procedures will afford an adequate remedy.” Green, 281 F.3d at 667 (citing Pennzoil Co. v. Texaco, Inc., 481 U.S. 1, 15 (1987)).

The court finds further that it has not been informed of extraordinary circumstances which would make abstention inappropriate.

Because the court finds that it is required to abstain based on the doctrine outlined in Younger, it will not reach the merits of plaintiffs’ motion for injunctive relief.

For these reasons, plaintiffs’ motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction is denied.


Federal Judge Refuses to Stop McHenry Township Road District Consolidation Referendum — 28 Comments

  1. It’s called “judge shopping”.

    The Northworst featured this case a couple of times when it was filed and again when a decision was expected.

    It was always DOA.

    Let’s see how they report this outcome.

  2. And there goes taxpayer money to try and keep a vote off the ballot. It will be interesting to see how much it has cost on both sides.

    If a study was so important to the losers, why didn’t they use their money to pay for one?

    Makes you realize the study wasn’t the motivation for the lawsuit by Craig Adams, Beltran and his wife.

    TOI must be shaken to the core that a change in their control might actually be achieved.

    They know that, like a crack in a dam, their power over all these little township fiefdoms will erode.

    A frightening possibility for a government entity and all the trough suckers it supports.

  3. Should the referendum pass, here is what will happen:

    The current Highway Commissioner will stay in office until 2021.

    When the new Township Board is sworn into office in 2021 “all the rights, powers, duties, assets, property, liabilities, obligations, and responsibilities of the road district shall by operation of law vest in and be assumed by the township. On that date, the township board of trustees shall assume all taxing authority of a road district abolished under this Section. On that date, any highway commissioner of the abolished road district shall cease to hold office, such term having been terminated. Thereafter, the township shall exercise all duties and responsibilities of the highway commissioner as provided in the Illinois Highway Code. The township board of trustees may enter into a contract with the county, a municipality, or a private contractor to administer the roads under its jurisdiction. The township board of trustees shall assume all taxing authority of a township road district abolished under this subsection. For purposes of distribution of revenue, the township shall assume the powers, duties, and obligations of the road district.”.

    The Illinois State Legislature modified Township law to create a dictatorship position of Highway Commissioner – now they are trying to fix that huge mistake by creating an even larger mess!

    If the referendum passes, there will be NO one to manage the Road District when the Board takes office in 2021.

    Will the new Board simply hand the job over to the County? Will the County even take the job? – look at the fiasco created with the Non-Dedicated Roads! The County Highway Department is unionized but wage rates are a little less than Prevailing rates.

    Will a private contractor be hired? When?

    Will Prevailing wage apply? 2017 rate for a laborer was $68.37 per hour (included benefits).

    Will a new Highway Commissioner be hired by contract? If so, would Prevailing wage still apply to the other employees?

    If the current Township Board is really serious about saving taxpayers money they will do the following if the referendum passes – they will create a new job position for the Township – They will create an employment contract and set a salary – They will reflect this in their tax levy for 2021 which will show if the Township will in fact reduce the cost to the taxpayers with the elimination of the position. THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THIS WILL HAPPEN.

    The State legislators let all the taxpayers down when they did a half-assed job with HB0607. We need better people running for office. The Legislation should have included a process for the Township to follow if the referendum was successful.

    Shame on all those who voted for this bill in its current context!!!

  4. Township Officials of Illinois’ General Counsel may well find him/herself in hot water for ghost-writing frivolous federal lawsuits to take away voters’ rights!

  5. Out of Towner, you’re a downer, and probably a township official somewheres.
    What doesn’t Out of Towner get?


    I WILL VOTE TO ABOLISH! Jim Condon can try and find a job in the private sector instead of sucking my blood.

    The board can plan for all the contingencies out of towner raised in the period after the referendum wins.

  6. So, we taxpayers still have the right to vote in Illinois.

    Wow. I will vote to abolish for the reason that the township royalty are against abolition.

    No wonder they want it off it ballot. They’d have to get real jobs.

    I’m sick of carrying them and their kids on my overtaxed back.

  7. Why did Craig Adams, Supervisor of McHenry Township try and steal our right to vote?

    1) Because he could

    2) Because Eric Sivertsen told him to

    3) Because he’s got a nice gig

    4) Because Township Official of Illinois ordered him to

    5) Because Jim Condom cried at the Rusty Nail saloon, and then had another tantrum

    6) Because Township officials need healthy insurance for the college aged kids at taxpayer expense

    7) Because township officials need job for their kids at the township whether they graduate from college of not

    8) Because townships are so vital Illinois and really don’t take much tax-money (the $$$ won’t be missed)

  8. 190 page well-reasoned complaint, based on the US Constitution and the caselaw, and dispositive affidavits, dismissed in a 2 page jumble of junk word salad just goes to show you how screwed up ‘our’ courts are.

    What a shame and what a sad day for JUSTICE, or should I say ‘Just Us!’

    I hope an appeal is taken, but given how Trump has wrecked the federal judiciary at its highest level, it’s no wonder the township electors got suppressed.

    Shame on the Board for costing us our right to vote!

  9. How much did the Township have to pay to get this crazy suit thrown out?

    Shame on the Plaintiffs. Shame on: Mary Mahady and Craig Adams!

    I can’t say shame on Beltran or Lady Gottlieb or Jim Condon, because they have no shame.

  10. Neither of the judges who ruled on the case were appointed by President Donald Trump.

  11. Let me see if got this right.

    A bunch of township employees and Township ASSessor Mary Mahady’s friends sue to get the referendum yanked from the Nov. election?

    There’s something rotten with that picture. Really rotten.

    Maybe Mary should just decide on everything and we have no further need of elections?

    She could be our Dear Leader. And She and her Washington DC brother can rule over us.

    What have things come to?


  12. Township Officials of Illinois is a criminal enterprise designed to justify the unjustifiable and separate taxpayers from their money to keep fatcats in clover!

    Exhibit No. 1 (don’t get any anti-township ideas!):

    Quotes from TOI president (The successor of Booby Miller):

    If we as township officials do our jobs as we should, and can educate others about how, what, and why we do what we do, I think we can better fend off some of the anti-township ideas that have arisen. …

    In closing, I would like to share this quote from the US Supreme Court. …

    “…a democracy is effective only if the people have faith in those who govern, and that faith is bound to be shattered when high officials and their appointees engage in activities which arouse suspicions of malfeasance and corruption.” (United States v. Miss. Valley Generating Co., 364 U.S. 520, 562, 1961)


    Danny Hanning
    TOI President


  13. Did the Township goofs forget about Booby Miller and the Algonquin spree?

    Exhibit No.2: Township Officials of Illinois stand for Big, Ever-expanding Government.

    Read this propaganda from Madigan’s hand picked scoont, IL Comptroller Susana Mendoza, parroting TOI Exec. Dir.
    Bryan Smith https://illinoiscomptroller.gov/financial-data/local-government-division/local-governments-in-illinois/townships/history/

    -but look closely at the end of the Controller’s hype —

    Submitted by Bryan Smith, Executive Director, Township Officials of Illinois. The Township Officials of Illinois [TOI] is a private, not-for-profit organization that currently represents 99% of the state’s 1,432 townships. TOI was organized in 1907 in an effort to promote township government in Illinois. Originally, TOI’s principle function was lobbying on behalf of member townships. Today, TOI’s function is three-fold: the education of township officials; the promotion of township government; and lobbying on behalf of Illinois townships.

    Read the last sentence — TOI is just a special interest lobby group to keep townships in power over us. What right does a lobbyist have to take over official Illinois websites like this Controller’s? That’s how sickening this township crookedness is.

  14. As a resident of LITH, Townships, personally make me sick.

    I moved here from Montana, and still can’t figure out what they do.

  15. Cal, why do you say “coalition of Democrats and Independents”?

    RINO Republicans have praised the stupid suit:

    Craig Adams, Township Supervisor (job on line)
    James Condon, Township Road Commissioner (job on line)
    Eric Sivertsen, McH. Township GOP Chair (township tax hog wannabee)
    Pam Althoff, Ex-State Sen. (TOI puppet w/ a 16 year record of chronic laziness)
    Andy Glab, Rep. Precinct Capt (City of McHenry official Crank)
    Steve Reick, sometime State Rep. (RINO taxer)

  16. Time to stop calling them RINO’s and just say what they truly are Democrats!

    Moderate Democrats but still Democrats!

  17. Adams and Condon ran as Democrats. I wasn’t aware any of the others were plaintiffs.

  18. How much money have those moronic trustees wasted in legal fees since they have been elected? How much have legal fees gone up from where they were previously?

    The trustees are idiots and I will vote NO!!

    The next comment will be that I Am a township employee blah blah blah bunch of Whitney babies on here hahaha.

  19. There goes your blood pressure again, Machone.

    Breathe dep and relax.

    Try to control your emotions.

    There is help available for your anger issues.

  20. The trustees aren’t the ones wasting the money on legal fees.

    They are merely responding to the frivolous suits brought by the No vote people.

    Neither the state nor federal suits had any credible arguments.

  21. I will also be voting yes to abolish the McHenry Township Road Dist. aka ‘Condon’s Empire of Corruption & Nepotism.’

    Township leeches, of course, don’t want to see their gravy train come to an end. But I do.

    Shame on Mary Mahady and her kept boy Craig Adams.

  22. What does Mary Mahady’s brother have to do with anything?

    Why the personal attacks?

    Oh, I forgot, you’re Republikkkans!

  23. Adams is a Democrat!

    Condon is a the one who hired Bob Miller.

    I’m voting YES to abolish to end the whole thing.

    Ask the folks at Pioneer Center.

    They really won’t be writing glowing references for Adams.

    They have words I cann’t use here for him.

  24. Another Township rat caught!

    POPLAR GROVE, Ill. – A man who was in charge of wagon rides at Edwards Apple Orchard has been arrested for alleged child sexual abuse.

    Police say Peter E. Holland, 53, of Caledonia, was arrested Monday on 3 counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse of a victim between 13-17 years of age, stemming from alleged incidents that occurred to a juvenile female in the 8600 block of Belvidere Road in rural Winnebago County between April 1st, 2016 and March 31st 2018. …

    Holland was contracted at Edwards Apple Orchard in Poplar Grove, and was in charge of providing horse drawn wagon rides to children and guests. He was also employed by the Belvidere Township.

    Eyewitness News reached out to Belvidere Township for the status of Holland’s employment there. Township officials said they have no comment.


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