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06/30/89 the Village of Schaumburg v. Metropolitan Sanitary

June 30, 1989

THE VILLAGE OF SCHAUMBURG ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS

v.

METROPOLITAN SANITARY DISTRICT OF GREATER CHICAGO ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

542 N.E.2d 119, 186 Ill. App. 3d 69, 134 Ill. Dec. 119 1989.IL.1047

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Albert Green, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE JIGANTI

The plaintiffs filed an action contesting a land purchase made by the Metropolitan Sanitary District . This is an appeal from an order which dismissed the party who sold the land to the MSD.

The defendants-appellees, John Graham, the Graham Company, and Roderick Kirkwood, owned a 73-acre tract of land located in the Village of Schaumburg. On October 13, 1987, they entered into a contract to sell the property to the MSD for $19,650,000. The closing date specified in the contract was December 7, 1987.

On October 26, 1987, the plaintiffs-appellants, the Village of Schaumburg and four individuals who were Schaumburg officials and taxpayers, filed a three-count complaint against the MSD and the Graham defendants. Count I, entitled "Declaratory Judgment," sought a declaration that the MSD would be subject to the zoning ordinances of the Village of Schaumburg if it were to acquire the property. The plaintiffs also requested an injunction to prevent the MSD from using the property for a sewage-treatment plant until it obtained rezoning or a special use permit. The plaintiffs further sought to enjoin the MSD and the Graham defendants from completing the sale of the property.

In count II, entitled "Injunction," the plaintiffs alleged that the MSD had no lawful purpose for buying the property and therefore lacked statutory authority to acquire it. In this count, the plaintiffs sought injunctive relief to prevent the MSD and the Graham defendants from completing the sale.

Count III, entitled "Breach of Fiduciary Duty," alleged that the proposed acquisition of the property for purposes not permitted by the statute would be a violation of the fiduciary duty owed by the MSD and its commissioners to the individual taxpayers of the district. In this count, the plaintiffs sought to enjoin the MSD and its commissioners from violating their fiduciary duties.

On October 27, 1987, one day after the complaint was filed, the MSD informed the plaintiffs that the sale of the property was scheduled for closing on December 7, 1987. Other than filing the complaint, the plaintiffs took no steps to secure an injunction before the closing date. When the time for closing arrived, the Graham defendants performed their obligations under the contract with the MSD and completed the sale of the property.

The Graham defendants subsequently moved to dismiss the complaint against them on the grounds of mootness. The Graham defendants argued that as to them the complaint requested only injunctive relief and they could no longer be enjoined from selling their property to the MSD because it had already been sold. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss.

On appeal, the plaintiffs argue that the trial court erred in dismissing the Graham defendants. The plaintiffs concede that the request for injunctive relief can no longer be granted because the sale of the property has been completed. However, the plaintiffs assert that the Graham defendants remain necessary parties to the action against the MSD. In this regard, the plaintiffs focus on count II of the complaint.

The plaintiffs assert that in count II of the complaint, they seek a declaration that the MSD was without corporate authority to purchase the property. The plaintiffs argue that if they prevail on this issue, then the purchase of the property by the MSD would be ultra vires, the contract would be void, and the court could order rescission and reconveyance of the property to the Grahams and order the Grahams to return the $19,650,000 purchase price. The plaintiffs ...


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