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OP Petition

OP Petition

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Published by wednesdayjournal

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Published by: wednesdayjournal on Apr 26, 2011
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04/26/2011

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Attorney Id. No. 22516
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY ILLINOISCOUNTY DEPARTMENT, CHANCERY DIVISIONNOEL 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 ANDREWB. SPIEGEL and pursuant to the U.S. and State Constitutions and the Election andSchool Codes of the State of Illinois, petition against the Respondents OAK PARKDISTRICT 97 and the District's School Board members in their official andindividual capacity as follows: PETER J. TRPCZYK, PETER BARBER, RANCECLAUSER, JAMES GATES, MICHELLE HARTEN, JENNIFER REDDY and ROBERT SPATZ. This Petition seeks to contest the validity of the public question referendumplaced on the April 5, 2011 general election ballot by these Respondents and seeksdeclaratory, injunctive and other additional relief. In support of this Petition, thePetitioners state the following:
 
Partie 
s1.NOEL KURIAKOS (“KURIAKOS”) is a registered voter in Oak Park SchoolDistrict 97. He is also a property owner and the parent of school children in saidDistrict and was so on April 5, 2011, the date of the Consolidated General Election.2.TAXPAYERS UNITED OF AMERICA (“TUA”), is a national taxpayerorganization with a number of adherents in Oak Park School District 97 who areregistered voters, property owners and parents of school children in Oak ParkDistrict 97.3. OAK PARK DISTRICT 97 (“hereinafter the “District”) is the schooldistrict that placed a referendum on the ballot for the April 5, 2011 election that isthe subject of this lawsuit. On the ballot, in paragraph 2 of the explanation, thelanguage 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 thetax increase on their property if the referendum were to succeed.4. PETER J. TRPCZYK, PETER BARBER, RANCE CLAUSER, JAMESGATES, MICHELLE HARTEN, JENNIFER REDDY and ROBERT SPATZ arerespectively, the President, the Vice President, and Board members of SchoolDistrict 97 and are named herein in both their official and individual capacities forthe purposes of injunctive relief and damages. They are referred to hereafter aseither “District members” or simply as “members.”5.Prior to the general election, the District and its members became awarethat 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 stateequalizer 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 increaseby approximately two-thirds, for example $37.40 per $100,000.00 of assessedvaluation instead of $126.04 per $100,000.00 as it actually would be if thereferendum passed.6.Despite knowing that the ballot language was misleading andunderstated the amount of the tax increase, the District and its membersunanimously and intentionally proceeded with the referendum using the misleadinglanguage.7.The election results on the District's referendum on April 5, 2011 werereported as a total vote on the referendum: 11,170, with 6,081 yes votes and 5,089no votes.
Count I Declaratory Judgment 
8-14.The Petitioners re-allege and incorporate by reference paragraphs 1-7above 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 735ILCS 5/2-701 for the purpose of determining a question in actual controversybetween the parties concerning whether the referendum ballot was invalid by reasonof its misstating the amount of the tax increase and whether the election musttherefore be set aside.16.The Board and its members were required by the School Code todetermine how much the tax bills would increase per $100,000.00 of assessedvaluation if the referendum measure was to pass. The Respondents phrased the

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