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LaFlamboy v. Landek

March 21, 2006

JOHN LAFLAMBOY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STEVEN LANDEK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff John LaFlamboy asserts four causes of action against multiple Defendants in connection with the allegedly wrongful divestiture of Plaintiff's ownership of the World Golf Dome ("WGD").*fn1 Specifically, Plaintiff brings a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") claim pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) and a RICO conspiracy claim pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) against Defendants Steven Landek, Kenneth DeVries, Steven Reynolds, Adriana Mazutis, Fred Pascente, Vincent Cainkar, John Curry, Joseph Kaput, Butch Sloan, and Allan Gustafson (the "RICO Defendants"). Additionally, Plaintiff asserts a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against Defendants the Village of Bridgeview, Landek, in his official capacity, DeVries, individually, Reynolds, individually, Mazutis, individually, Pascente, individually, Cainkar, in his official capacity, Curry, in his official capacity, Kaput, in his official capacity, Sloan, in his official capacity, and Gustafson, individually. Lastly, Plaintiff brings a state law breach of contract claim against DeVries. Four motions to dismiss the Amended Complaint are currently pending before the Court. Cainkar brings a motion to dismiss and purports to adopt the arguments of the other Defendants; Gustafson brings a motion to dismiss and for sanctions; Landek, Curry, Kaput, and Sloan (together, the "Landek Defendants") bring a motion to dismiss and to strike; and DeVries brings a motion to dismiss. Cainkar, DeVries, Reynold, and Mazutis adopt the Landek Defendants' motion to dismiss and to strike.

BACKGROUND

I. The Parties

A. Plaintiff

Plaintiff, a resident of Illinois, was the previous co-owner of the WGD. (R. 51-1; Am. Compl. at 1-2, ¶¶ 2, 3.)

B. Defendants

The Village of Bridgeview (the "Village") is a municipal corporation and a political subdivision of the State of Illinois, located approximately fifteen miles southwest of Chicago. (Id. at 4, ¶ 17(A).) Landek has been the Mayor of the Village since April 1999. (Id. at 5, ¶ 17(C).) DeVries was the owner of The Scoreboard, Ltd. (the "Scoreboard"), which was a bar and restaurant located on the premises of the WGD. (Id. at 5, ¶ 17(D).) DeVries signed a five-year lease with Plaintiff for the tenancy of the Scoreboard on September 30, 1999. (Id.) Reynolds served as an advisor to Landek, and was a former employee of the Village and of the Cook County Forest Preserve District. (Id. at 5, ¶ 17(E).) In or about November of 2002, the Village hired Reynolds as a janitor. (Id. at 32, ¶ 64(A).) Plaintiff alleges that this employment was a "cover" for Reynolds' work on behalf of the purported RICO enterprise. (Id.) Mazutis was Reynolds' business partner and fiancee. (Id. at 5, ¶ 17(F).) Pascente was a personal associate of Reynolds and a former Chicago police officer. (Id. at 5, ¶ 17(G).) Cainkar was an attorney and a member of the law firm Louis F. Cainkar, Ltd., located in Burbank, Illinois. (Id. at 6, ¶ 17(H).) In May of 1999, Landek appointed Cainkar's law firm to the position of attorney for the Village. (Id.) Also in May of 1999, Landek appointed Curry to the position of Director of Building Inspection Services for the Village. (Id. at 6, ¶ 17(I).) In May of 2001, Curry became the Code Enforcement Inspector for the Village and Kaput became the Director of Building and Inspection Services. (Id. at 6, ¶ 17(I), (J).) Sloan was a police officer for the Village. (Id. at 6, ¶ 17(K).) Gustafson was Plaintiff's former business associate and owned fifty-percent of the WGD prior to September 2003. (Id. at 6, ¶ 17(L).)

C. Other Entities

The WGD is a sports and events facility located in the Village. (Id. at 2, ¶ 3.) Plaintiff alleges that he "envisioned, planned, and developed" the WGD. (Id. at 2, ¶ 14.) Plaintiff purchased the site for the WGD in March of 1998. (Id.) Construction on the site commenced in June of 1999, and the WGD opened for business in November of 1999. (Id. at 2-3. ¶ 14.) The WGD featured an inflatable dome with a 75-foot ceiling height, in which activities such as golf, soccer and softball could take place throughout the year. (Id. at 3, ¶ 14.) Plaintiff and Gustafson each owned fifty-percent of the WGD. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he was involved in the day-today operation and management of the WGD. (Id.) The Office of the Mayor of Bridgeview (the "Mayor's Office") is a local governmental and municipal department. (Id. at 5, ¶ 17(B).)

II. Plaintiff's General Allegations

Plaintiff claims that on September 15, 2003, through an alleged pattern of illegal, fraudulent, racketeering acts, Defendants, in the course of a purported RICO conspiracy, wrongfully divested Plaintiff of his ownership of the WGD. (Id. at 3, ¶ 15.) Plaintiff alleges a three-part RICO enterprise including: (1) the Village; (2) the Mayor's Office; and (3) an association in fact of the RICO Defendants.*fn2 (Id.) Plaintiff contends that each RICO Defendant "exercised a degree of direction over the Enterprise's affairs and/or played a role in its operation, management or control."*fn3 (Id.) The RICO Defendants allegedly operated the purported enterprise for over five years. (Id. at 21, ¶ 59.) According to Plaintiff, the RICO Defendants' "primary goal was to facilitate the acquisition of the WGD by the Village of Bridgeview, which required (1) divesting the Plaintiff of his ownership and control of the facility; and thereafter (ii) vesting the Village with ownership of the WGD in a manner that would appear 'legitimate' while guaranteeing monetary rewards for the members of the conspiracy." (Id. at 4, ¶ 16.) Plaintiff further alleges that "[t]he ultimate goal of the defendants . . . was to use the WGD . . . as a means of enticing the Chicago Fire professional soccer team to choose the Village for its home stadium site."*fn4 (Id.) Additionally, Plaintiff has set forth other goals of the alleged RICO conspiracy, including: (1) to allegedly obtain illegal financial gains for the RICO Defendants; and (2) to conceal the RICO Defendants' goals from public exposure. (Id. at 8, ¶ 20.) Plaintiff further alleges that "there remains a manifest threat that the defendants will continue to operate the Enterprise, by and through a pattern of racketeering activity, to garner illegal and wrongful gains for themselves and their confederates out of the $18.5 million in estimated annual revenue which the new home stadium . . . will bring to the area." (Id. at 23, ¶ 60.) Plaintiff contends that the RICO Defendants committed numerous predicate acts in furtherance of the purported RICO conspiracy including: engaging in mail and wire fraud and "the issuance of disingenuous and unfounded tickets, citations, fines and injunctions; the orchestration of a campaign of bogus lawsuits; the surreptitious dumping of garbage and other hard-to-remove debris; the subjection of the Plaintiff and his employees to physical intimidation, the brandishing of weapons, and other threats to their safety; and the forging of the Plaintiff's signature on a 'settlement agreement.'" (Id. at 9, 22, ¶¶ 22, 59.) Plaintiff asserts that as a result of Defendants' conduct, he suffered losses to his business and property in excess of $6 million. (Id. at 4, ¶ 16.)

ANALYSIS

I. Legal ...


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