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People Ex Rel. Director of Finance v. Ywca





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County, the Hon. Richard J. Cadagin and Hon. George P. Coutrakon, Judges, presiding.


The Director of Finance (hereafter the State), on behalf of the Capital Development Board (hereafter CDB), filed a petition on August 26, 1976, seeking to condemn, for construction of a "courts complex" building for the use of the Fourth District Appellate Court, Sangamon County Circuit Court and a law school or paralegal training program, an entire block in downtown Springfield, including improved property at the southeast corner of that block, belonging to the Young Women's Christian Association of Springfield (YWCA). The State filed a November 1 motion in limine to prohibit the YWCA from introducing evidence of replacement or reconstruction costs relevant under the YWCA theory that the property was "special use" property entitled to unusual valuation rules. On November 3 the YWCA filed a traverse and motion to dismiss, denied September 7, 1977. Pursuant to our Rule 308 (58 Ill.2d R. 308) the circuit court certified three valuation questions raised by the motion in limine, and those questions were decided by this court in People ex rel. Director of Finance v. YWCA (1979), 74 Ill.2d 561. Following that decision, a jury trial was held and a judgment fixing total compensation to be paid the YWCA at $1,135,960 was entered. From this final judgment the YWCA appealed and the case was transferred to this court pursuant to our Rule 302(b) (73 Ill.2d R. 302(b)).

An appropriation for a courts complex was first made in 1974. The Governor, on November 6, 1975, gave, as required by section 51 of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 127, par. 51), his consent to acquisition of the subject property. Discussions among potential users of the complex resulted in a December 1975 program statement containing the following certificate:

"As attested by the signatures affixed below, the undersigned agree that their facilities described in this document are sufficient in both quality and quantity to accommodate those activities scheduled to occupy them through calendar year 1980. The Capital Development Board affirms the reasonableness of the facilities planned for the activities projected."

This certificate was signed by Judge J. Waldo Ackerman on behalf of the Sangamon County circuit court.

The only indication that members of the Sangamon County Board (hereafter county board) were aware of such discussions is a letter dated October 1, 1974, from the chairman of the county board, which stated:

"This letter will confirm sentiments expressed at a meeting held on September 27 between Judge James Craven, John Huther of the Board of Higher Education, Don Brown and Dave Rinker of the Capital Development Board.

You should be advised that the location of the square block surrounded by Fourth, Fifth, Capitol and Jackson meets with the approval of the Sangamon County Board as a site for the proposed Circuit Court-Appellate Court-Law School complex. The Sangamon County Board certainly looks with favor upon the project and hopes to work closely with your office and others to see the eventual fulfillment of the plan.

I will be pleased to meet with the Capital Development Board on October 10 and at other such times as you may feel appropriate."

An internal CDB memo dated April 2, 1976, from Waler Ross, the then project manager, indicates that this initial contact was not followed by continued involvement of the county board:

"The relationship of the Sangamon County Board to this project is one which should have been foreseen at least a year and a half ago, and should have been a part of the public relations and programming effort which I referred to in Item 2 above. You state that Mr. Hess and I should be concerned with this situation. We are. However, you must realize that inasmuch as they have been ignored ever since the beginning of this project it is inopportune to go running to them after public meetings have been held, and ask them to suddenly become involved. Now that we have put ourselves in this position, it would appear to me that our best course would be to allow these public airings to subside a little and then approach them with the mechanics of the problem as being merely a part of the mandate which was given in the Appropriation, which provides for the construction of Circuit Court facilities."

The memo concluded that Ross would suggest that the CDB architects "cool it" until the CDB could "get our own house in order." The CDB passed a resolution on June 10, 1976, which read in part:

"WHEREAS, staff has advised that for the record in connection with condemnation proceedings it is recommended that the selection of such site be formally confirmed by resolution of the Board.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Capital Development Board of the State of Illinois hereby formally confirms the designation of the site for the Courts/Law School Complex, CDB Project No. 007-010-001, is the site bounded by 4th, 5th, Capitol, and Jackson Streets in the City of Springfield, Illinois, and hereby confirms the authority of the Board's staff to acquire parcels of property within the boundaries of such site either by purchase or by condemnation and ratifies and confirms all acts of the Board's staff heretofore taken to such end."

The petition for condemnation, filed August 27, 1976, stated:

"3. That it is necessary that the Petitioner have and acquire the lands, rights or other property hereinafter described for a public use and purpose and that said lands, rights or other property are required for the public use and purpose of constructing and effecting public improvements on the same for the use and benefit of the State of Illinois, to wit: a Courts' Complex for the Circuit Court and Appellate Court and the legal and paralegal public education.

4. That, under and by virtue of Article I of the Capital Development Act, approved October 11, 1973, as amended (Chapter 127, Paragraphs 771 through 783, Illinois Revised Statutes, 1975), the Capital Development Board of the State of Illinois is engaged in the acquisition, construction and completion of the Courts' Complex for the Circuit Court and Appellate Court and legal and paralegal education in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, and that, for such purposes, has determined by resolution duly adopted on June 10, 1976 that the lands, rights or other property hereinafter described, together with other lands, rights or property bounded by Fourth, Fifth, Capitol and Jackson Streets in the City of Springfield, County of Sangamon, State of Illinois, are necessary to be acquired for such public purposes."

A September 7, 1976, letter from the Sangamon County clerk indicates that, as of that date, no resolution affecting "in any way" the location of the Sangamon County circuit court had been passed by the county board. The YWCA traverse and motion to dismiss filed November 3, 1976, stated in part:

"11. Only the Sangamon County Board has the power and duty to select a site for, and build or lease, a courthouse for Sangamon County. (Ill. Rev. Stats., C. 34, Sec. 432). The Sangamon County Board has not selected the site in question for a courthouse or for the Circuit Court. In fact, the Sangamon County Circuit Court is now occupying modern air-conditioned facilities only about twelve years old, which facilities are being leased by the County from the Springfield Building Commission under a long term lease. There is no public necessity for the taking of defendant's property. As yet, no one has conducted an in-depth study as to the need of Sangamon County for a new court facility. Petitioner is proposing to condemn property for, and to construct, a building for the Sangamon County Circuit Court without the authority or consent of the Sangamon County Board. Such court building, if constructed, may never be utilized for the purposes intended."

On January 11, 1977, a resolution, suggested in part by CDB staff members, was approved by the county board. It stated:

"WHEREAS, the State of Illinois Capital Development Board, hereinafter referred to as `CDB', is in the process of developing a Courts and Legal Studies Complex, hereinafter referred to as `Complex', from funds appropriated by the General Assembly of the State of Illinois;

WHEREAS, CDB has heretofore authorized the payment of funds to Special Assistant Attorney Generals, appointed by the Attorney General for the purpose of commencing condemnation proceedings with regard to such site;

WHEREAS, it is in the interest of the State of Illinois to establish a model circuit courtroom facility so as to improve the quality of justice in the State of Illinois;

WHEREAS, it has been determined that the use of that portion of the Complex for the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court, Sangamon County, Illinois, and related court services will be of benefit to the State of Illinois in connection with the providing of a model circuit court facility, CDB has stated that it will cause that portion of the Complex allocated to the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court, Sangamon County, Illinois, and related court services to be made available to Sangamon County on a long-term basis, wherein Sangamon County will pay for said use and occupancy only its pro rata share of operation and maintenance costs for that portion of the Complex devoted to Seventh Judicial Circuit Court, Sangamon County, Illinois facilities and related court services.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Sangamon County Board concurs with the development of the project, and it is the judgment of the Board that, in the event such Complex is constructed and space allocated as shown in said Program Statement, it would be necessary and convenient to and in the best interest of Sangamon County to negotiate an agreement with the State of Illinois on the basis of the statement of CDB referred to hereinabove and to relocate its Seventh Circuit Court, Sangamon County, Illinois, facilities and related court services to the space provided for in said Program Statement to said Complex."

Four witnesses testified for the State at the hearing on the motion to dismiss. Judge Roy O. Gulley, Administrative Director of the Illinois Courts, testified concerning the Fourth District Appellate Court's involvement in the project, noting in passing that the Sangamon County circuit court had a new, modern, air-conditioned courthouse building, one of the 20 or 25 newest circuit court facilities in the State.

Daniel Pramlet, a land-acquisition official for the CDB, testified that the CDB did believe that there had to be a consensus of the county board, although it did not believe that consensus need be in writing. The witness testified that there was neither a formal written agreement concerning the rent to be charged nor any county-board-approved program statement, although over 50% of the complex's "net square footage" would be used by the circuit court.

Jerry Hess, a planning supervisor for the CDB, testified that more than half of the usable floor space of the complex would be occupied by the circuit court. He stated that the CDB was not to determine need for the building in the first place, and had not done any study of the adequacy of the circuit court's 12-year-old building, or of the court buildings throughout Illinois. After his work on the project, however, the witness had personally felt that the project would be beneficial to the State. The witness testified that, if the CDB had tried to construct the appellate court and legal education facilities separately from the circuit court facilities, "it [the project] wouldn't have worked."

Dasol Mashaka, the project manager for the CDB at the time of the hearing on the motion to dismiss, testified that the Sangamon County circuit court would be the single largest use of the building, approximately 50%, that the size of the tract required was directly related to the size of the building, and that the circuit court would make the greatest demand on parking facilities. The witness admitted that he had seen the absence of a use agreement with the county board as a potential barrier. A couple of weeks prior to the January 11, 1977, county board meeting, he had participated in a discussion with county board members ...

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