Grafton project back in court

HUNTLEY – Linda Moore’s first meeting as Grafton Township supervisor likely didn’t go as smoothly as planned.

Hours before the Thursday night township board meeting, McHenry County Judge Michael Caldwell issued another restraining order against the township’s planned $3.5 million town hall.

Items related to construction approval were listed on the township’s agenda, but then struck down after an emergency court hearing.

“This is an attempt to tap dance around the previous order of this court,” Caldwell said during the hearing, according to court transcripts.

Caldwell had granted a temporary injunction this month requiring work related to the new building to stop. The township board – which was prepared to grant construction bids in April – filed an appeal soon after.

Although Moore had been suing the township with a list of others against the town hall, she now is listed as a defendant in court documents because of her new position.

Moore began her four-year term as supervisor Monday.

Another problem posed Thursday was the case’s representation by township attorney Jim Kelly.

Kelly was set to be re-appointed to serve the township during the board meeting, but that agenda item also was removed.

Under township law, the township supervisor approves the appointment of a township attorney. But given Moore’s conflict of opinion on the new building, Grafton Township trustees said they might seek a separate special counsel for their defense.

Verbal fireworks had erupted during Thursday’s board meeting, with most of the public discussion centered on the pending litigation. About 50 community members were in attendance.

New Trustee Gerry McMahon – who had run in the spring election as an ally of Moore, but then began to favor the project – frustratingly demonstrated the amount of local funds budgeted for the township by taking a pair of scissors to his tax bill and cutting off a sliver of a piece.

“This is nothing, absolutely nothing,” McMahon said. “I can’t help it. I get emotional over this type of silliness.”

What's next

The Grafton Township board will give 48-hour notice of a special meeting to hire new representation for the pending litigation – and possibly a separate special counsel for the trustees – sometime next week.

The case regarding the $3.5 million project is next scheduled for a hearing at 9 a.m. Thursday in McHenry County Circuit Court.

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