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04/28/88 the Department of Local v. the Department of Local

April 28, 1988

APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION ILLINOIS CENTRAL GULF RAILROAD COMPANY, PLAINTIFF

v.

THE DEPARTMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES (BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF COMMUNITY -- THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

ILLINOIS BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, DEFENDANT (BOARD OF



Trustees of Community College District No. 508 et al., Petitioners-Appellants)

Nos. 87-0625, 87-0632 cons.

523 N.E.2d 1048, 169 Ill. App. 3d 683, 120 Ill. Dec. 137 1988.IL.615

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Earl Arkiss, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. McMORROW and JOHNSON, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN

Petitioners are various taxing districts of Cook County. As plaintiffs in a consolidated class action entitled Board of Trustees of Community College District No. 508 v. Edward J. Rosewell, 82 CH 8607 (District 508), petitioners sought leave to intervene in two other actions, Illinois Central Gulf R.R. Co. v. Department of Local Governmental Affairs, 79 L 7854 (Illinois Central Gulf) and People v. Illinois Bell Telephone Co., 80 L 60002 (Illinois Bell). Petitioners claim to be entitled to interest accrued on various county tax escrow accounts by virtue of a judgment entered in their favor in District 508. In that case, the court entered an injunction against Rosewell, enjoining him as county treasurer and collector from distributing the earnings he received on his investment of real estate and personal property tax collections and ordering him to create a segregated fund into which the earnings were to be deposited. Petitioners, as the county taxing districts which were entitled to the principal taxes collected, were to receive the interest on the accounts, pro rata, after a certain date.

In Illinois Central Gulf, the court ordered Rosewell to distribute the interest that had accrued on certain escrow accounts into the general corporate fund of Cook County. In the Illinois Bell case a large sum of money representing Illinois Bell's personal property tax liability and accrued interest and penalties was ordered to be distributed to the prevailing party upon final Disposition of the case.

The District 508 plaintiffs, petitioners in the pending appeal, sought intervention in Illinois Central Gulf and Illinois Bell to protect their perceived claim to the interest earned on the escrow accounts in those cases.

Although the petitions for leave to intervene and seek post-judgment relief in Illinois Central Gulf and Illinois Bell were filed more than two years following the entry of final judgments in those cases, petitioners argue that the county fraudulently concealed the existence of the two cases and thereby prevented petitioners from protecting their interests in the funds in question.

The trial court denied the petitions for intervention and relief, finding no fraudulent concealment that would toll the two-year limitation period for seeking relief from judgments pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-1401). On appeal, petitioners contend that the court erred by failing to consider the import of the injunction entered against the county in the District 508 case. Petitioners also urge this court to decide who should be entitled to the interest earned on the tax escrows because the issue is one of public importance.

We affirm the trial court.

Background

On October 20, 1982, the trial court in District 508 entered a preliminary injunction against Rosewell in his official capacity. Pursuant to the terms of the injunction, Rosewell was enjoined from distributing the earnings (investment interest) that he had received upon taxes he had collected on behalf of the taxing districts. He was to segregate those funds. Petitioners had brought the suit to challenge the collector's practice of retaining the interest earned on the taxes and distributing it into the county treasury for general county purposes. On December 14, 1984, the court entered judgment in favor of the petitioner class, finding that the ...


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