But it’s the note from a community lawyer from the Citizen Advocacy Center “applaud” of litigation most disturbing takeaway
As posted on McHenry County Blog last week, a forum hosted by the Advocates for Kane County Mental Health took place Saturday mid morning.
Various speakers over the course of an hour spoke at the outdoor event, but what was originally billed as a “forum” quickly turned into a rally, with the first speaker, and nearly all speakers, ending their speeches with audience participation of “708 Can’t Wait!”.
Elected officials who spoke to the audience of about 100 were Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog (D, Batavia), Elgin City Councilmember Corey Dixon, and outgoing township supervisors Franklin Ramirez (D, Elgin) of Elgin Township and Dundee Township Supervisor Trish Glees (D, West Dundee).
Apart from Pierog, all of the speakers spoke from the standpoint of Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham (R, Aurora) denying their voices being heard from the referenda questions both Elgin and Dundee townships placed on their respective ballots to create a 708 Mental Health Board at the township level in March of 2020.
Unlike McHenry County with its 708 Mental Health Board created at the county level over 50 years ago, 708 Mental Health Boards in Kane County have been created at the township or municipal level, and currently, 9 Mental Health Boards primarily centered around southern Kane County with 7 townships, plus the cities of Geneva and St. Charles, are in place.
As discussed in McHenry County Blog article from April 22, the Dundee Township Board of Trustees voted to take legal action against Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham to compel his office to extend the property taxes to fund the Dundee Township referendum.
Through mid afternoon on Monday, May 3, no lawsuit has been filed.
Back to Saturday’s rally in Elgin, the Advocates for Kane County Mental Health passed out information folders with various information focusing criticism that Clerk Cunningham was single-handedly stopping the funding of the Dundee and Elgin Mental Health boards.
Included in the packet was a letter from the Elmhurst-based Citizen Advocacy Center, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit offering legal advice and also concentrated on Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser (D, St. Charles).
The letter, written as “A note from Community Lawyer Ben Silver on the 708 Board controversy in Kane County”, was a page and a half of legalese trying to explain the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) had no bearing, based on statute passed over a decade ago.
From the desk of John Lopez: I am not an attorney, and nothing I say should be taken as legal advice, but the opinions of a citizen journalist who can read and discerning the truth as he sees it based on facts presented.
What Silver failed to point out in his note was the fact the case law cited by State’s Attorney Mosser was a 2015 case that was affirmed by the 2nd District Appellate Court in 2016 making the PTELL the official statute for levying property taxes, beginning with the extension the county clerk is responsible for implementing.
The case law, “Hampshire Township Road District vs. John A. Cunningham in his official capacity as Kane County Clerk” can be viewed here.
Here is Silver’s only reference to the case law:
“The state’s attorney points to a case regarding the passage of a highway tax at a township meeting in Hampshire Township to counter this point. However, that decision only applies to a narrow set of facts.”Ben Silver, “A note from Community Lawyer Ben Silver on the 708 Board controversy in Kane County”, April 30, 2021
Silver’s “note”, which wasn’t offered as “legal advice” leaves a few facts out, including:
- The “township meeting” was the 2014 Hampshire Township Annual Meeting where electors, under guidance set by the Township Code, can implement various policies
- The “narrow set of facts” appears to refer to a “direct referendum” meaning during an election, versus a “referendum” allowed at a Township Annual Meeting
- The case law affirmed by the Appellate Court, in my honest opinion, makes clear PTELL takes precedence over other statute, thus the legal precedent State’s Attorney Mosser applied when advising Clerk Cunningham to NOT extend the property tax levy for the 708 Mental Health Boards
Silver later says in his letter about the Illinois General Assembly in 2007 legislation, amended language to allow the Community Mental Health Act to supersede PTELL.
That observation, in my honest opinion, did not stand up in the courts.
Reading the Appellate Court opinion, in its 2016 (after 2007) affirmation of the 16th Judicial Circuit’s summary judgement of 2015 against Hampshire Township Road District, it reads, in my honest opinion, PTELL is the one and only standard for extending a property tax levy, in spite of any changes made in 2007.
Silver closes his “note” with the following:
“The Kane County Clerk and State’s Attorney are attempting to usurp the will of the voters and the powers of the townships and General Assembly. I applaud Dundee and Elgin Townships for voting to sue the County to make sure the voters’ will is fulfilled, and Citizen Advocacy Center will continue to monitor the situation and take any steps necessary to ensure compliance with the law.”Ben Silver, “A note from Community Lawyer Ben Silver on the 708 Board controversy in Kane County”, April 30, 2021
I’m unsure of any action of Elgin Township concerning litigation though their Mental Health Board met on April 29, but Dundee Township is represented by Ancel Glink for legal counsel.
Indeed, in the 2016 Hampshire Township Road District appeal, Keri-Lyn Krafthefer was one of two Ancel Glink attorneys representing the Road District when they lost on appeal.
Therefore, if Ancel Glink is representing Dundee Township on any litigation concerning PTELL, the law firm was directly involved with the case law affirmed and in place in the 2016 Appellate Court briefing.
In lawyer-speak, is the litigation going to attempt to convince a judge the case law is “inapposite” with the Dundee Township 708 Mental Health Board?
We all may be finding out if a judge rules that way.
UPDATE: The video link for the event and its speakers below:
- Trish Glees’ speech starts at 13:50
- Corinne Pierog’s speech starts at 23:55