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Goranson v. Dept. of Regis. & Education

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 31, 1980.

ALBERT A. GORANSON ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE DEPARTMENT OF REGISTRATION AND EDUCATION ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR L. DUNNE, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE WILSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiff appeals from a circuit court order under the Administrative Review Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 264 et seq.) affirming an administrative agency's finding that he violated the provisions of "An Act to provide for licensing and regulating detectives * * *" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 201-16(f)). On appeal, he contends that (1) the complaint did not meet the requirements of due process; (2) he did not receive a fair and impartial hearing; and (3) the findings of fact do not support the conclusions of law. We affirm. The pertinent facts follow.

On April 26, 1977, the Department of Registration and Education (Department) issued a complaint against Al Goranson, a licensed detective, and Al Goranson and Associates, Inc., a licensed detective agency. The complaint alleged that on September 9, 1975, plaintiff executed a contract with Robert Macur for surveillance in the sum of $27,000. The contract provided for a payment of $6,400 by 11 a.m. on September 9 and the remaining $20,555 to be accounted for by a judgment note payable to the detective agency. It was further alleged that plaintiff went with Macur on the morning of September 9 to Cragin Federal Savings and Loan, Uptown Federal Savings and Loan and Golf Mill State Bank where Macur withdrew $4,700, $700 and $500 respectively and gave these sums to plaintiff for his retainer. Macur also wrote a check for $500 which plaintiff cashed. Macur was admitted to Reed Mental Health Center, where he was hospitalized for treatment of a nervous breakdown from September 10, 1975, to November 18, 1975. The Department alleged that Goranson received $6,400 for approximately one day's service and never forwarded any results of the surveillance to Macur. Lastly, it was alleged that the contract was cancelled on or about September 10, 1975, and that despite demands by plaintiff, no accounting or refund of any moneys was made. The Department charged that plaintiff's conduct failed to safeguard Macur's and the public's interest and constituted grounds for suspension or revocation of the certificates of registration as a private detective and as a detective agency under section 16(f) of "An Act to provide for licensing and regulating detectives * * *" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 201-16(f)).

At the hearing held on May 25, 1977, Macur testified that in response to his call, plaintiff arrived at his home sometime after midnight on September 9, 1975, to discuss putting his ex-wife, her husband, and their children and others under surveillance. Macur stated that at one point plaintiff was going to perform the surveillance work on a cost plus basis and he gave him a check for $525.95; however, plaintiff changed his mind and decided to make the contract for a lump sum. Macur testified that his signature was on the service agreement contract which provided for payment of $6,400 as a retainer by 11 a.m. on September 9 and payment of the note for the balance of $20,555 by 1 p.m. September 10. Macur indicated that he had shown plaintiff his savings accounts and told him he had a 50% interest in the house, along with his sister.

Macur stated that plaintiff left his house around 7 a.m. September 9, indicating that he would return around 9 a.m. to take him to the bank. At Cragin Savings and Loan, Macur withdrew $4,700 of the $4,912.41 in his account, at Uptown Federal Savings and Loan, he withdrew $700 from an account containing $728.72, which he held as trustee for one of his children, and he withdrew $500 from another account there containing $504.52, which he also held as trustee for one of his children. Macur further testified that plaintiff drove him to Golf Mill State Bank, whereupon he wrote him a $500 check.

Macur went to plaintiff's office sometime that afternoon to sign the note for the balance due under the contract. The contract required him to pay the balance of $20,555 by 1 p.m. the next day and made the retainer of $6,400 non-refundable. Macur stated that his income at that time was about $350 per month for social security disability and his VA pension. Macur further stated that on the night of September 9, 1975, an employee of plaintiff's stayed all night, as did his Aunt Victoria Bowski, who had come over, and that his brother-in-law, Neil Long, remained part of the night. Lastly, Macur stated that he suffered a nervous breakdown on September 10 and was admitted to Reed Mental Health Center. He was later transferred to Downey Veterans Hospital where he remained until November 18, 1975.

Long testified that he arrived at Macur's house on the afternoon of September 9 after receiving a call from Macur's aunt. He called plaintiff's office in an attempt to get the contract cancelled and a three-way conversation ensued between himself, Macur's attorney, Paul Rozmarek, and plaintiff. Long stated that Macur indicated he would not agree to a cancellation and Rozmarek felt his hands were tied as a result. Long testified that he arranged for Macur to be committed to Reed Mental Health Center.

Plaintiff was called as an adverse witness. He stated that he and Macur discussed two contracts and that the $27,000 was figured on the time involved and the number of employees required. He further indicated that he was aware of the amount of moneys Macur held in the bank, his equity in the house and some patents pending with U.S. Gypsum. He could not recall whether Macur told him he was working but he thought that Macur said he was not. Plaintiff stated that he was aware that the contract represented practically all of Macur's cash except some stocks and bonds. He testified that he told Macur to talk with his attorney, and that had the attorney said that Macur was incapable of signing a contract, he would have automatically cancelled it and refunded the $50 that Macur had already paid. He acknowledged that the attorney indicated that Macur did not need the services.

Plaintiff stated that no surveillance was undertaken, but he paid his employees who guarded Macur that night the sum of $546 and he also paid $2,050 to Anderson Security to have five men placed on standby. The contract was cancelled by his orders when the balance due was not paid on September 10 as per their agreement.

Plaintiff had one witness, Odell Anderson of Anderson Security, whose stipulated testimony indicated that he supplied $2,250 worth of services. Goranson offered as exhibits a letter from Rozmarek, his reply, a copy of Macur's resume, and a tape along with his transcript of it, recorded at Macur's house on September 9.

The detective examining committee issued its finding of fact and conclusions of law and recommended that plaintiff's licenses be revoked. Plaintiff filed a petition for a rehearing which was denied, and the Director adopted the findings and conclusions of the committee and ordered plaintiff's licenses revoked. Plaintiff then filed a petition for injunctive relief and administrative review in the circuit court, which affirmed the order of the Director.

OPINION

Plaintiff initially contends that the complaint did not meet the requirements of due process in that he was fairly and reasonably apprised of the acts of misconduct with which he was charged so that he could properly defend against such charges. We find this argument unpersuasive.

Our supreme court has held that in a proceeding involving revocation of a professional license, due process of law requires a definite charge, adequate notice, and a full, fair and impartial hearing. (Kalman v. Walsh (1934), 355 Ill. 341, 189 N.E. 315.) This does not mean that such charges need be drawn with "the refinements, niceties, and subleties of pleadings in courts> of record." (Kalman; Wells v. Health & Hospitals Governing Com. (1977), 52 Ill. App.3d 183, 367 N.E.2d 258.) "It is sufficient that the petitioner be fairly and reasonably apprised of the acts of misconduct with which he is charged so that he may properly prepare to defend such charges." Tarr v. Hallihan (1940), 375 Ill. 38, 42, 30 N.E.2d 421; Rasky v. ...


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