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Idlehour Dev. Co. v. City of St. Charles

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 3, 1980.

IDLEHOUR DEVELOPMENT COMPANY ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE CITY OF ST. CHARLES ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. MARVIN D. DUNN, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE SEIDENFELD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The plaintiffs, Idlehour Development Company and SSPF, Inc. (Idlehour), filed suit against the defendants, the City of St. Charles, its mayor, city attorney, and its councilmen. The complaint in count III charged that the individual defendants wrongfully impaired Idlehour's contractual rights with the city and claimed $7,500,000 in damages. The trial court found that the complaint failed to state a cause of action and entered an order of dismissal from which Idlehour appeals pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 304(a) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110A, par. 304(a)). *fn1

The amended complaint alleges:

"3. On or about April 5, 1976, plaintiffs entered into a lease agreement with the defendant City of St. Charles, * * *. The property which is the subject matter of the said lease is located immediately adjacent to the easterly boundary line of the Fox River adjoining the municipal center, both located on State Avenue in St. Charles, Illinois, all as more fully appears from the said lease. The subject matter of the lease was the development of the subject property under a concept plan providing for the construction of specialty shops, offices and apartments in a two or three story configuration of approximately 80,000 square feet. The lease provides for a schedule of construction over a 7 1/2 year period with duties and responsibilities imposed upon both parties. The said lease became effective by its terms on April 5, 1976 and plaintiffs entered into possession of the property in question on that date."

Idlehour further alleges that although it fully performed its obligations, the mayor caused a notice of default to be prepared and served upon it; that thereafter the city council adopted an ordinance or resolution purporting to terminate the agreement and to evict the plaintiffs; that this action impaired and obstructed Idlehour in its further performance of the contract; and that the city in so doing has breached its contract. The complaint continues: "5. On or about October 1, 1977 defendants * * * without legal or moral justification conceived and formed an animosity toward plaintiffs pursuant to which the said defendants contrived and entered into a plan and conspiracy wilfully and with malice aforethought to induce defendant City of St. Charles to unlawfully terminate plaintiffs' lease and to remove plaintiffs from the leased premises, well knowing that there was no legal ground or bases [sic] for such action and that the same would constitute a breach by the City of its lease agreement with plaintiffs"; further, that the various named individuals improperly caused the contractual rights of the plaintiffs with the city to be terminated by adopting ordinances and resolutions; and that

"9. As further evidence of the conspiracy to injury plaintiff [sic] and to maliciously cause a loss of their rights under the lease agreement, defendants made the following statement,

`The developer had until September 5 to arrange financing. The developer has not met that deadline and is in default.'

`I would like to see another developer to have a chance to come up with a better proposal.'

`What does SSPF have behind them except for the dream.'

`If the City goes ahead and says we'll give you more time, the City loses all its rights.'

`Why should the City accept a new deadline when Idlehour didn't meet the last one.'

`Any extension without competition proposals would be wrong under the law and wrong if you are considering the public interest.'

All of said statements were made without justification, were made maliciously and with the desire and ...


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