Local

Algonquin Township board moves $50K to pay legal bills

Trustees approve fund transfer to increase legal budget to $300K

Mounting legal fees from multiple attorneys remain a central storyline in Algonquin Township.

On Wednesday, the Algonquin Township board unanimously voted, 4-0, to transfer $50,000 to its legal budget to cover $25,975 in attorney bills submitted in March.

“We didn’t have enough to pay some of the attorneys,” Supervisor Charles Lutzow said at the meeting.

As of Feb. 28, Algonquin Township had used $236,970 of the $250,000 budgeted for legal services – leaving $13,029 for the rest of the budget year.

That became a problem in March, when the following McHenry County firms billed the township:

• The Gooch Firm (representing former Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Bob Miller) – $9,225

• Matuszewich & Kelly LLP (representing the township board) – $13,375

• Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle (representing Clerk Karen Lukasik in a lawsuit Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser launched in 2017) – $3,375

Attorney bills have been a centerpiece of conflict in McHenry County’s most populous township.

The mounting legal fees have forced township officials to move around money to cover bills.

In November 2017, Algonquin Township trustees approved a transfer of $194,870 from the road district’s $3 million coffer into a fund to cover Gasser’s legal bills. The move unsettled some township officials and several residents about how the township spends tax dollars.

It wasn’t the first time trustees had to juggle money to pay for legal bills.

In August 2017, the trustees transferred $70,000 into Gasser’s fund for legal fees. Trustees also transferred $35,000 from the town fund to cover Lukasik’s legal services.

Since June 2017, Woodstock-based attorney Robert Hanlon’s firm has billed the road district more than $400,000, a large portion of fees that have mounted in multiple lawsuits. Those have included a labor battle between the highway department and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and an in-house fight involving Gasser and Lukasik.

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