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Attorney Id. No.

22516

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY ILLINOIS


COUNTY DEPARTMENT, CHANCERY DIVISION

NOEL KURIAKOS and )


TAXPAYERS UNITED OF AMERICA )
Petitioners, )
vs. ) No.________________________________
)
OAK PARK DISTRICT 97, and the ) Cal.________________________
School Board members in their )
official and individual capacity as )
follows: PETER J. TRPCZYK, PETER )
BARBER, RANCE CLAUSER, )
JAMES GATES, MICHELLE )
HARTEN, JENNIFER REDDY and )
ROBERT SPATZ, )
)
Respondents. )

VERIFIED PETITION FOR EXPEDITED


DECLARATORY INJUNCTIVE and OTHER RELIEF

NOW COME the Petitioners, NOEL KURIAKOS (“KURIAKOS”) and

TAXPAYERS UNITED OF AMERICA (“TUA”), by and through their attorney ANDREW

B. SPIEGEL and pursuant to the U.S. and State Constitutions and the Election and

School Codes of the State of Illinois, petition against the Respondents OAK PARK

DISTRICT 97 and the District's School Board members in their official and

individual capacity as follows: PETER J. TRPCZYK, PETER BARBER, RANCE

CLAUSER, JAMES GATES, MICHELLE HARTEN, JENNIFER REDDY and ROBERT

SPATZ. This Petition seeks to contest the validity of the public question referendum

placed on the April 5, 2011 general election ballot by these Respondents and seeks

declaratory, injunctive and other additional relief. In support of this Petition, the

Petitioners state the following:


Parties

1. NOEL KURIAKOS (“KURIAKOS”) is a registered voter in Oak Park School

District 97. He is also a property owner and the parent of school children in said

District and was so on April 5, 2011, the date of the Consolidated General Election.

2. TAXPAYERS UNITED OF AMERICA (“TUA”), is a national taxpayer

organization with a number of adherents in Oak Park School District 97 who are

registered voters, property owners and parents of school children in Oak Park

District 97.

3. OAK PARK DISTRICT 97 (“hereinafter the “District”) is the school

district that placed a referendum on the ballot for the April 5, 2011 election that is

the subject of this lawsuit. On the ballot, in paragraph 2 of the explanation, the

language provided:

For the 2010 levy year the approximate amount of the additional tax
extendable against property containing a single family residence and having a
fair market value at the time of the referendum of $100,000.00 is estimated to
be #37.40.

This language substantially failed to inform the voters of the estimated effect of the

tax increase on their property if the referendum were to succeed.

4. PETER J. TRPCZYK, PETER BARBER, RANCE CLAUSER, JAMES

GATES, MICHELLE HARTEN, JENNIFER REDDY and ROBERT SPATZ are

respectively, the President, the Vice President, and Board members of School

District 97 and are named herein in both their official and individual capacities for

the purposes of injunctive relief and damages. They are referred to hereafter as

either “District members” or simply as “members.”

5. Prior to the general election, the District and its members became aware

that the the tax rate increase and the estimated amount of said increase on a
property valued at $100,000.00 as stated on the ballot, did not include the state

equalizer or multiplier factor applied to Cook County in its calculation. As a result,

the District and its members understated the estimated amount of the tax increase

by approximately two-thirds, for example $37.40 per $100,000.00 of assessed

valuation instead of $126.04 per $100,000.00 as it actually would be if the

referendum passed.

6. Despite knowing that the ballot language was misleading and

understated the amount of the tax increase, the District and its members

unanimously and intentionally proceeded with the referendum using the misleading

language.

7. The election results on the District's referendum on April 5, 2011 were

reported as a total vote on the referendum: 11,170, with 6,081 yes votes and 5,089

no votes.

Count I
Declaratory Judgment

8-14. The Petitioners re-allege and incorporate by reference paragraphs 1-7

above as if fully set forth herein as paragraphs 8-14 of this Count I.

15. The nature of this Count is a proceeding for declaratory relief under 735

ILCS 5/2-701 for the purpose of determining a question in actual controversy

between the parties concerning whether the referendum ballot was invalid by reason

of its misstating the amount of the tax increase and whether the election must

therefore be set aside.

16. The Board and its members were required by the School Code to

determine how much the tax bills would increase per $100,000.00 of assessed

valuation if the referendum measure was to pass. The Respondents phrased the
question on the ballot without using the State equalization factor.

17. The parties are governed by the Election and School Codes, by the

language on the ballot used to misstate the amount of the tax increase, by the

Constitution of the State of Illinois and by the U.S. Constitution.

18. A dispute has arisen between the Petitioners and the Respondents with

respect to the Respondents intentional use of misleading figures on the referendum

ballot and whether the effect of using such figures rendered that ballot invalid and

the election results null and void.

19. The Petitioners claim that the Respondents' use of the misleading

figures misled the voting public, was a violation of both the State and U.S.

Constitutions and the School and Election Codes and therefore made the ballot

invalid and the election results thereon null and void. The Respondents claim there

was no intentional misleading of the voters, that the ballot was not invalid and that

the discrepancy in the calculations was adequately explained to the voters prior to

the election.

20. An actual controversy exists between the Petitioners and the

Respondents.

WHEREFORE the Petitioners herein request a declaratory judgment in

accordance with the due process and equal protection clauses of the 5 th and 14th

Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, of Article I, Section 2 and Article III, Section 3

of the Illinois Constitution (1970) and of 10 ILCS 5/23-20, et seq. of the Election

Code, 105 ILCS 5/20, et seq. of the School Code and 735 ILCS 5/2-701 against the

Respondents as follows:

a. the court declares the District 97 referendum ballot invalid for failing to
substantially inform the voters as to the estimated amount of the

property tax increase;

b. the court declares the election results on the District 97 referendum of

April 5, 2011 null and void;

c. the court order the individual Respondents to pay from their private

funds all costs, expenses and attorneys, fees of this action;

d. the Court grant Plaintiffs any other relief it may deem equitable in the

circumstances.

Count II
Preliminary Injunction

21- 27. The Petitioners re-allege and incorporate by reference paragraphs

1-7 above as if fully set forth herein as paragraphs 21-27 of this Count II.

28. The Respondents were required by the School Code, to determine how

much tax bills would increase per $100,000.00 of assessed value if the District 97

measure was to pass.

29. The Respondents were required to clearly indicate the substance of the

public question. Their failure to factor in the State equalizer so vastly understated

the effect of the proposed tax increase that the voters were denied the ability to

know the fundamentals and general effect of the proposed increase. Smith v.

Calhoun Community School District No. 40, 16 Ill.2nd 328, 157 N.E.2 nd 59 (1959).

Petitioners are likely to prevail on this issue.

30. The harm to the public will be far greater if the injunction were to fail

and the undisclosed tax increase be allowed to go into effect without the benefit of a

valid ballot question. Such harm far outweighs any harm that may result to the

Respondents if the preliminary injunction is allowed.


31. A preliminary injunction should be imposed against both the District

and each of the individual District Board member Respondents named herein to

enjoin them from taking any further action in furtherance of the District 97 ballot

referendum and to enjoin them from collecting any finds as a result of that increase.

32. The Preliminary injunction should be imposed without bond as the

Petitioners are in good faith defending their constitutional rights under both the U.S.

and State Constitutions for the benefit of all the property taxpayers in the 97 th

District and requiring them to post a bond is not in the public interest.

33. The Petitioners have incurred costs, expenses and attorneys' fees in

prosecuting this cause and should be awarded all of such expenditures from each of

the individual Respondents jointly and severally.

Wherefore, the Petitioners herein, by and through their attorney Andrew

B. Spiegel petition for entry of a preliminary injunction as follows:

a. enjoining each of the Respondents from taking any further action

to implement and to collect any property tax increase resulting from the April

5, 2011 District 97 referendum;

b. converting the preliminary injunction into a permanent injunction

prior to any attempt by any of these Respondents to take any further action to

implement or to collect any property tax increase resulting from the April 5,

2011 District 97 referendum;

c. entering any injunctive relief issued without bond being required

from these Petitioners;

d. awarding the Petitioners all costs, expenses and attorneys' fees

incurred as a result of this action with any such award to be paid jointly and
severally from the individual Respondents herein and not from public funds;

e. granting such further and additional relief as the court deems

warranted in these circumstances.

Respectfully submitted,

__________________________________________
Andrew B. Spiegel, Attorney for Petitioners

Andrew B. Spiegel
TAXPAYERS UNITED OF AMERICA
407 S. Dearborn Street, Suite 1170
Chicago, Illinois 60605
630 567-5379
Verification

NOEL KURIAKOS, certifies on oath that he has read and understood


the foregoing Verified Petition and that the same is true in substance and in fact to
the best of his knowledge, information and belief.

_________________________________
NOEL KURIAKOS

Subscribed and sworn to


before me this 26 th day of April, 2011

_____________________________________
Notary Public

Andrew B. Spiegel
TAXPAYERS UNITED OF AMERICA
407 S. Dearborn Street
Suite 1170
Chicago, Illinois 60605
630 567-5379