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People Ex Rel. Coutrakon v. Lohr

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 26, 1956.

THE PEOPLE EX REL. GEORGE P. COUTRAKON, APPELLANT,

v.

LENNOX R. LOHR ET AL., APPELLEES. — SANGAMON COUNTY FAIR AND AGRICULTURAL ASSOCIATION ET AL., APPELLANTS,

v.

STILLMAN J. STANARD ET AL., APPELLEES.



APPEALS from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. DEWITT S. CROW, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DAVIS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The questions arising in these consolidated cases involve the validity of enacted House Bill 733, entitled: "An Act to provide for a Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority in metropolitan Cook County and to define its powers and duties," to be known as the Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority Act. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1955, chap. 34, pars. 155g1 et seq.

They arise out of two separate cases decided by the circuit court of Sangamon County. Number 34024 was a complaint in quo warrantor brought by George P. Coutrakon, as State's Attorney of Sangamon County, against the Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority and the members of its board, seeking a determination that the act creating the Authority is unconstitutional. The Sangamon, Morgan, and Cass County Fair Associations and their presidents, intervened as additional plaintiffs. Number 34048 was a taxpayers' action in which the Sangamon, Morgan, and Cass County Fair Associations and their presidents are plaintiffs, and the Director of the Department of Agriculture of the State of Illinois, and the State Auditor and Treasurer are defendants. In this action the plaintiffs seek to restrain the defendant Authority from entering into leases with the Chicago Park District for the use of park property for an exposition building, and from applying for and receiving any money from the Fair and Exposition Fund, and ask other relief. The State's Attorney of Sangamon County joined in the complaint as coplaintiff, and the Authority is an intervenor-defendant in this action.

In both cases, the trial court granted motions to strike and dismiss the complaints. Plaintiffs appealed directly to this court since the constitutionality of a State statute and the public revenue are involved. Since the two cases both challenge the constitutionality of the Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority Act, and contain common specifications of unconstitutionality, we granted a motion to consolidate them upon appeal.

The Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority Act created a municipal corporation, the Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority, hereinafter called the "Authority," in the "metropolitan area," that territory lying within the corporate boundaries of the county of Cook. In section 3 it was given the power to sue and be sued in its corporate name, and in section 4 to "promote, operate and maintain fairs, expositions and conventions from time to time in the metropolitan area and in connection therewith to arrange, finance and maintain industrial, cultural, educational, trade and scientific exhibits and to construct, equip and maintain auditoriums and exposition buildings for such purposes," and was further granted "all rights and powers necessary to perform such duties." In subsequent sections the Authority was given further express rights and powers to accept from the Chicago Park Fair, a private not-for-profit corporation, an assignment of whatever sums of money it may have received from the Fair and Exposition Fund, as well as its contracts; to receive such sums as may be distributed to it from the Fair and Exposition Fund; to own, lease, construct, operate and maintain fair and exposition grounds and facilities, to lease the same, and collect reasonable nondiscriminatory charges to defray the expenses of the Authority; to pay principal and interest on any revenue bonds it may issue; to enter into contracts concerning the objects and purposes of the act; to borrow money for the purposes of the act; and (in section 10) to issue revenue bonds payable solely from the revenues or income to be derived from the fairs, expositions and exhibitions and other authorized activities operated by it, "and from funds, if any, received and to be received by the Authority from the Fair and Exposition Fund, as allocated by the Department of Agriculture of this State." The act further provides that under no circumstances shall any bonds issued by the Authority, or any other obligation of the Authority be an indebtedness or obligation of the State of Illinois. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1955, chap. 34, par. 155g11.) These revenue bonds were, by section 12 of the act, (Ill. Rev. Stat. 155, chap. 34, par. 155g12,) made legal investments for municipalities, banks, insurance companes, trustees, fiduciaries, building and loan associations and others.

Two companion bills were enacted at the same time as the Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority Act. House Bill No. 734 amended section 6i of "An Act in Relation to State Finance." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1955, chap. 127, par. 142i.) Insofar as it is material here, section 6i as amended sets up the Fair and Exposition Fund, and provides for appropriations thereto, disbursements thereof, and for its administration by the Department of Agriculture. Distribution from the fund is authorized to county fairs in counties with a population of less than 500,000, and to fair and exposition authorities in counties with a population of 500,000 or more. Appropriations pursuant to this section may be expended for financing industrial, cultural, educational, trade and scientific exhibits, and for constructing and equipping auditoriums and buildings for such purposes, or for payment of the principal and interest upon revenue bonds issued for any of the foregoing purposes. The constitutionality of section 6i of the State Finance Act was upheld in Sangamon County Fair and Agricultural Association v. Stanard, 9 Ill.2d 267, decided at the September, 1956, term.

House Bill No. 735, enacted as "An Act to authorize certain park districts to lease park property to a Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority and to maintain and operate such property for exposition and other purposes upon the conditions set out herein" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1955, chap. 105, pars. 327v6 and 327v7,) authorized park districts located in whole or in part in any city having a population of 500,000 to lease, with certain specified restrictions, to a Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority for a term not exceeding forty years, any parcel or parcels of land to be maintained by such Authority for its lawful corporate purposes.

For the purposes of this consolidated appeal, we shall consider all the specifications of unconstitutionality. The points raised by the various plaintiffs are properly before the court, and therefore the proceeding in which they were raised below is of no significance on this appeal. Points raised by the pleadings and appeal are that the Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority Act violates:

(1) Section 13 of article IV of the Illinois constitution in that it embraces subjects not expressed in its title, amends other acts without specific reference thereto, and in that it was not read at large on three different days in the House of Representatives, even though the House Journal recites such fact.

(2) Section 22 of article IV in that it is an improper special law and grants special powers, privileges, and immunities to a private corporation.

(3) Section 26 of article IV which prohibits the State from being made a party defendant in any suit, in that section 3 of the act permits suits to be filed against the Authority as an agency of the State.

(4) Section 10 of article IX in that it allegedly provides for appropriations of money for the corporate purposes of a municipal corporation performing no State function, and in that it provides a tax upon municipal ...


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