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LaFlamboy v. Landek

November 17, 2008

JOHN LAFLAMBOY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
STEVEN LANDEK, KENNETH DEVRIES, STEVEN REYNOLDS, ADRIANA MAZUTIS, FRED PASCENTE, VINCENT CAINKAR, JOHN CURRY, JOSEPH KAPUT, BUTCH SLOAN, ALLAN GUSTAFSON AND THE VILLAGE OF BRIDGEVIEW, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Amy J. St. Eve

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court are four motions for summary judgment-in each case, the parties move as to all counts that name them. Defendants Steven Landek, John Curry, Joseph Kaput, Butch Sloan, and Steven Reynolds, (the "Village Defendants"), along with Defendant the Village of Bridgeview (the "Village"), move for summary judgment on Counts I, II, and III and also move to strike Plaintiff's responses to their Rule 56.1 Statement. (R. 415-1.) Defendant Vincent Cainkar ("Cainkar") separately moves for summary judgment as to Counts II and III; Defendant Allan Gustafson ("Gustafson") moves for summary judgment as to Counts II, III, and IV; and Defendant Kenneth DeVries ("DeVries") separately move for summary judgment as to Counts II and V. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants summary judgment in part on Count I, denies summary judgment as to Count II; grants summary judgment on Count III as to all Defendants; and denies summary judgment as to Counts IV and V. In addition, the Court grants in part and denies in part the Village Defendants' motion to strike.

BACKGROUND

I. Procedural Posture -- Fourth Amended Complaint

Plaintiff John LaFlamboy's Fourth Amended Complaint ("FAC") asserts five causes of action against varying Defendants.*fn1

First, Count I alleges a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") claim, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c), against the Village Defendants, Steven Reynolds, and Fred Pascente (collectively, "the RICO Defendants").*fn2 Plaintiff asserts in Count I that beginning in May 1999, and extending through at least October 2005, the RICO Defendants violated RICO, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c), by participating in a pattern of racketeering activity involving Plaintiff's former business, the World Golf Dome ("WGD").

In Count II, Plaintiff alleges that the RICO Defendants, along with Defendants Allan Gustafson, Vincent Cainkar, Kenneth DeVries, and Adriana Mazutis violated18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) by conspiring to violate RICO.*fn3 In particular, Plaintiff alleges that these Defendants agreed and conspired "to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity with the intention of cheating, defrauding, and otherwise forcing the Plaintiff to give up his ownership and control of the WGD." (R. 299-1, Fourth Am. Compl. ¶ 86.) In Count III, Plaintiff asserts a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim, alleging that the RICO Defendants and the Village violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights, including his Fifth Amendment right not to be deprived of property without just compensation; and his Fourteenth Amendment right not to be deprived of property or livelihood without due process of law. In essence, Plaintiff alleges 1) that the Village Defendants' practice of issuing citations, denying permits, and conducting unwarranted inspections interfered with Plaintiff's business; and 2) the Village Defendants' schemes to obtain control of the WGD forced Plaintiff to give up his rights to his property. Plaintiff argues that 42 U.S.C. § 1983 entitles him to damages for these Constitutional violations.

Additionally, Plaintiff asserts a breach of fiduciary duty claim (Count IV) against Defendant Gustafson. Plaintiff and Gustafson formerly partnered in connection with the WGD, and Count IV alleges that has Defendant Gustafson breached his fiduciary duty to Plaintiff in connection with their partnership.

Finally, in Count V, Plaintiff alleges a state law breach of contract claim against Defendant DeVries. Plaintiff contends that DeVries breached a rental agreement entered into by DeVries and Plaintiff concerning leasing of space at the WGD.

II. The Parties' Rule 56.1 Statements of Fact

When determining summary judgment motions, the Court derives the background facts from the parties' Local Rule 56.1 statements. Local Rule 56.1 assists the Court by "organizing the evidence, identifying undisputed facts, and demonstrating precisely how each side propose[s] to prove a disputed fact with admissible evidence." Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000). Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1(a)(3), the moving party must provide a concise "statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." (L.R. 56.1; Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004). The non-moving party must respond by admitting or denying each and every factual statement proffered by the moving party with specific references to the record. Ciomber v. Coop. Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643 (7th Cir. 2008). Should the non-moving party fail to do so, the court may deem all well-supported facts set forth in the movant's statement to be admitted. See Ciomber, 527 F.3d at 644; Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., L.L.C., 401 F.3d 803, 810 (7th Cir. 2005); Schrott v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 403 F.3d 940, 944 (7th Cir. 2005). ("The district court was entitled to take these facts as uncontested, as the local rule provides"); Scott v. Edinburgh, 346 F.3d 752, 759 (7th Cir. 2003).

The operative phrase here is "well-supported." Specifically, litigants must support facts with specific references to the record and evidence admissible at trial. As such, the Court may opt to disregard facts presented in a manner that does not comply with Rule 56.1. See Ciomber, 527 F.3d at 643; see also Roger Whitmore's Auto. Serv., Inc. v. Lake County, 424 F.3d 659, 664 n.2 (7th Cir. 2005) ("It is not the duty of the district court to scour the record in search of material factual disputes . . . .") (collecting cases). In addition, the Court will not consider documents that would not be admissible at trial when ruling on summary judgment. See Judson Atkinson Candies, Inc. v. Latini-Hohberger Dhimantec, 529 F.3d 371, 382 (7th Cir. 2008); Eisenstadt v. Centel Corp., 113 F.3d 738, 742 (7th Cir. 1997). A district court is "entitled to expect strict compliance" with Rule 56.1. See, e.g., Ciomber, 527 F.3d at 643; Cichon, 401 F.3d at 809 (collecting cases); Ammons, 368 F.3d at 817 (quoting Bordelon, 233 F.3d at 527).

A. Plaintiff's Response to Defendant Gustafson's Rule 56.1 Statement

Plaintiff failed to timely respond to Defendant Gustafson's Undisputed Statements of Material Fact. Plaintiff attempted to file a response to Defendant Gustafson's Rule 56.1 statement (R. 396-1), but did so eight days after the court-imposed deadline of July 22. (R. 342-1.) As such, and based on the Plaintiff's pattern of dilatory filings, repeated inattention to Court orders, non-compliance with Court rules, and misrepresentation, the Court denied Defendant's motion to file these documents instanter. (R. 398-1.) The Court deems all of Gustafson's well-supported statements of fact admitted. Ciomber, 527 F.3d at 644; Cichon, 401 F.3d at 810; Schrott, 403 F.3d at 944.

B. Plaintiff's Response to Defendant Cainkar's Rule 56.1 Statement

In response to nearly all of Cainkar's statements of fact, Plaintiff merely denies the statement without proffering "specific references" to the record to support his general denials as required by Rule 56.1. Plaintiff attempted to file an amended response to Cainkar's Statement (R. 391-1), but the Court struck that entry as dilatory and non-compliant. (R. 403-1.) As such, Plaintiff has admitted each of the supported facts in Cainkar's Rule 56.1 Statement at paragraphs 5-7, 10, and 12-63. Despite the Village Defendants' argument to the contrary, however, facts deemed admitted by Plaintiff for the purpose of Defendant Cainkar's motion for summary judgment are not deemed admitted for the purpose of the Village Defendants' motion. The Village Defendants must meet their own respective burdens.

C. The Village Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement

Defendants attack Plaintiff's Rule 56.1 statements in both their respective summary judgment papers and in the Village Defendants' motion to strike. Having fully considered Defendants' arguments, the Court largely agrees that Plaintiff has fallen far short of his Local Rule 56.1 obligations. The Village Defendants, however, are not without fault.

To begin with, the parties routinely cited exhibits that went unauthenticated either by deposition testimony or affidavit. Rule 56(e) requires that documents be "authenticated by and attached to an affidavit that meets the requirements of Rule 56(e) and the affiant must be a person through whom the exhibits could be admitted into evidence." Scott, 346 F.3d at 759-760, n.7 (quoting 10A Charles Alan Wright, et al., Federal Practice & Procedure § 2722, at 379-80 & 382-84 (1998)). This requirement applies to all documentary exhibits, including, for example, expert reports. See Haywood v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 323 F.3d 524, 533 (7th Cir. 2003) (excluding on summary judgment an expert report that was introduced "without any supporting affidavit verifying its authenticity.").

Next, both Plaintiff and the Village Defendants routinely relied on hearsay evidence. But "hearsay is inadmissible in summary judgment proceedings to the same extent that it is inadmissible in a trial," Eisenstadt, 113 F.3d at 742. The Seventh Circuit excepts from this prohibition only affidavits and depositions. Eisenstadt, 113 F.3d at 742.*fn4 Both parties failed to justify their reliance on hearsay or provide sufficient information (via affidavits or otherwise) to bring the hearsay evidence within one of the exceptions provided by the Federal Rules of Evidence.

In addition, both parties continually "disagree" with the other party's statements of fact. Absent a denial supported by specific reference to the record, mere disagreement is insufficient to support or defeat summary judgment. See Montano v. City of Chi., 535 F.3d 558, 569 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003)).

Moreover, a proper Rule 56.1 statement attaches well-organized exhibits that are what the parties claim them to be. The parties in this case submitted over 500 separate exhibits, representing thousands of pages of additional information. In addition, the Village Defendants alone submitted 124 separate statements of fact without first seeking leave, in violation of L.R. 56.1's limitation of 80. Both Plaintiff and the Village Defendants routinely cited to exhibits that were non-existent or mis-labeled. In each case, where the Court was confronted with a non-conforming, argumentative, or unsupported statement of fact, that fact was stricken.

D. Plaintiff's Response to the Village Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement

Although Plaintiff did file responses to the Rule 56.1 Statement of the Village Defendants, (R. 373-1; R. 392-1; 395-1),*fn5 many of his responses fail to comply with Rule 56.1. First, in responding to each of these three Rule 56.1 Statements, Plaintiff initially failed to file any exhibits in support of his factual assertions.*fn6 Instead, Plaintiff delivered a "courtesy copy" binder of untabulated exhibits-eight days late, and in violation of Local Rule 5.2(c).*fn7 This failure potentially dooms Plaintiff's opposition to Defendants' 56.1 statements, because a party facing summary judgment must "put up or shut up." Steen v. Myers, 486 F.3d 1017, 1022 (7th Cir. 2007). Even considering the binder of non-filed exhibits, the majority of Plaintiff's "disputed facts" are merely argumentative assertions that lack specific citations to the record. In some instances, Plaintiff identified genuine factual disputes but pointed to exhibits that either were not provided to the Court (see, e.g., R. 434-1, Pl.'s Ex. 81), represented something other than what Plaintiff contended (see, e.g., 434-1, Pl.'s Exs. 58, 59, 60, 66, 107, 108), or did not contain the pages for which Plaintiff cited them (see, e.g. 434-1, Pl.'s Exs. 36, 38, 40, 59, 111(b)). It is not the Court's responsibility to root through the record to make Plaintiff's case for him. See Corley v. Rosewood Care Ctr., 388 F.3d 990, 1001 (7th Cir. 2004).

Plaintiff also relies on broad, argumentative affidavits that are unsupported by facts or other citations to the record. Affidavits must be "made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(1); Woods v. City of Chicago, 234 F.3d 979, 987 (7th Cir. 2000). Plaintiff submitted transcripts of interviews with Tim Sparrow, Ken Keysor, and David Eldridge, (see, e.g., R. 434-1, Pl.'s Exs. 39, 40, 41, 105), and an unsigned statement purporting to be the "O'Connell Declaration" (R. 434-1, Pl.'s Ex. 28), each of which lacked signatures, authentication, or any evidentiary foundation whatsoever.*fn8 Id.; see Markel v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of Wis. Sys., 276 F.3d 906, 912 (7th Cir. 2002) (an affidavit not signed by affiant fails to comply with Rule 56(e)). The "declarations" also contain multiple levels of inadmissible hearsay and recite speculation clearly outside the declarant's personal knowledge. See Haywood v. Lucent Techs., 323 F.3d 524, 533 (7th Cir. 2003) (affirming district court's striking of hearsay statements in the context of summary judgment); Woods, 234 F.3d at 987 (document was inadmissible under 56(e) where it contained statements regarding matters not within the declarant's personal knowledge). As such, much of the Sparrow, Keysor, Eldridge, and O'Connell "declarations" are inadmissible, and thus improper under Rule 56(e).

Plaintiff also relies heavily on newspaper articles for support of his rebuttals to paragraphs 77, 104, 108, 116, 118, and 123. (R. 434-1, Pl.'s Exs. 93, 94). Although Plaintiff half-heartedly argues otherwise, he clearly offers the newspaper articles for the truth of the matters asserted therein, and they are therefore inadmissible. See Fed. R. Evid. 801(c); Chi. Firefighters Local 2 v. City of Chicago, 249 F.3d 649, 654 (7th Cir. 2001) ("The evidence consists of a newspaper article, which is inadmissible hearsay..."); Eisenstadt v. Centel Corp., 113 F.3d 738, 742 (7th Cir. 1997) (newspaper article inadmissible hearsay in summary judgment proceedings); see also Galdikas v. Fagan, 342 F.3d 684, 695 (7th Cir. 2003) (parties cannot rely on inadmissible hearsay in summary judgment opinions). Similarly, portions of Plaintiff's affidavit, (R. 434-1, Pl's Ex. 86 at ¶¶ 6, 7, 15), improperly rely on the newspaper articles and other hearsay evidence, such as a televised interview with Mayor Landek, which the Court cannot consider for the truth of the matters asserted. See Potter, 445 F.3d at 1009.*fn9 Without the hearsay evidence, Plaintiff's responses to paragraphs 77, 104, and 108 are unsupported by any facts, and the Court therefore deems those paragraphs admitted.

Further confusing things, many of Plaintiff's responses to the Village Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement refer back, or otherwise incorporate, responses to other statements of fact. Some of these incorporating responses, namely paragraphs 21 and 22, point to a number of other responses, some of which admit, others of which deny, Defendants' statements. Many of the incorporating responses (paragraphs 25, 28, 29, and 89), for example, fail to specifically address the facts for which Plaintiff apparently incorporated them, while others (paragraphs 84, 85, and 86) incorporate non-existent responses. Because the Court cannot determine the meaning of these responses, and because the responses fail to comply with Rule 56.1(b)(3)(A) and (B), Plaintiff has admitted the well-supported facts contained in the Village Defendants' Statement at paragraphs 21, 22, 25, 28, 29, 84, 85, 86, 89 and 109-111.

Moreover, Plaintiff's attempts to introduce new facts in the context of his responses to Defendants' Rule 56.1 statements are also improper. Plaintiff's responses to at least Village Defendants' paragraphs 61, 69, 74, and 75 attempt to introduce new facts in contravention of the Local Rules, which require delineation of additional facts in a separate statement. See Loc. R. 56.1(b)(3); Ammons, 368 F.3d at 817 ("Rule 56.1 envisions a separate statement of additional facts."). As such, the Court strikes these "additional facts" for failure to comply with Local Rule 56.1(b)(3). See Ammons, 368 F.3d at 817 (holding that district court did not abuse its discretion by striking facts included in non-movant's responsive memorandum).

Given Plaintiff's evasive responses, improper arguments, mis-citations, lack of citations, missing exhibits, reliance on inadmissible evidence, and failure to address Defendants' statements of fact, Plaintiff has admitted the Village Defendants' statements of fact, to the extent that the statements are well-supported, at paragraphs 3, 7-12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 23, 24, 27, 30, 32, 34, 36, 41, 43-45, 50-52, 53, 57, 61, 62-65, 66, 70, 73, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83-86, 89-92, 95-98, 106, 108, 115, 116, 120, and 121.

E. Plaintiff's Additional Statement of Facts

Rule 56.1 permits the non-moving party to file a statement of additional facts to overcome summary judgment. See Loc. R. 56.1(b)(3). Here, Plaintiff filed such a document (R. 394-1), but for many of the reasons discussed above, it fails to comply with Local Rule 56.1. The Village Defendants have moved to strike Plaintiff's Statement of Additional Facts. (R. 415-1.)*fn10

Plaintiff's additional facts lack supporting exhibits, rely on inadmissible evidence, and are rife with improper arguments and erroneous citations. As such, the Court strikes the first sentence of the first paragraph 4*fn11 in Plaintiff's Additional Statement of Fact as unsupported by evidence. The Court also strikes the last two sentences of paragraph 3, the first sentence of paragraph 6, the last sentence of paragraph 8, the second sentence of paragraph 12, along with the first sentence of paragraph 21, and the last clause of paragraphs 19, and 20 as containing improper argument and lacking in evidentiary support. In addition, the Court strikes the last clause of paragraph 5, the first two sentences of paragraph 8, the last sentence of paragraph 12, and paragraphs 7, 10, 16, 18, and 22 as unsupported by admissible evidence and/or the record provided to the Court.

III. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is proper when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P 56(c). A genuine issue of material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). In determining summary judgment motions, "facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a 'genuine' dispute as to those facts." Scott v. Harris, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 1776, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). After "a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party 'must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255 (quoting Fed R. Civ. P. 56(e)).A nonmoving party must, however, present more than a scintilla of evidence in support of its claim. Rozskowiak v. Vill. of Arlington Heights, 415 F.3d 608, 612 (7th Cir. 2005). Rather, to overcome summary judgment, the nonmoving party must present "evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the nonmoving party." Id. at 612.

IV. Facts

A. Individuals

From 1999 to 2003, Plaintiff John LaFlamboy, Sr. and Defendant Allan Gustafson co-owned an inflatable dome structure called the World Golf Dome ("WGD"), which was located in the Village of Bridgeview, Illinois. (R. 373-1 at ¶ 1.) Plaintiff and Gustafson entered into an agreement whereby with each owned a 50% interest in the WGD. (R. 364-3 at ¶ 7.) Plaintiff and Gustafson never reduced their agreement to writing. (Id. at ¶ 10.) The WGD employed a number of individuals, including John LaFlamboy, Jr., (R. 373-1 at ¶ 10) and Donna O'Connell. (Id. at ¶ 12.) In addition, Defendant Kenneth DeVries leased a bar and restaurant on the WGD premises.

Defendant Steven Landek was (and remains) the mayor of the Village of Bridgeview. (Id. at ¶ 5.) At times relevant to this case, Defendant John Curry served as the Village's Code Enforcement Inspector and had the power to issue citations and enforce violations of Village ordinances. (Id. at ¶ 120.) Defendant Joseph Kaput was the Village's Director of Buildings and Inspectional Services. (Id. at ¶¶ 15; 121.) Defendant Forrest Sloan served as a Village Police Commander. (Id. at ¶ 122.) Defendant Vincent Cainkar is an outside attorney who was hired by the Mayor to serve as counsel for the Village to draft legal documents and correspondence for the Village. (R. 406-1 at ¶ 2.) Defendant Steve Reynolds worked for the Village as an independent contractor, working first to ensure compliance with the local liquor laws, and later in the public works department. (R. 373-1 at ¶ 116.) Defendant Adriana Mazutis was Steve Reynold's girlfriend, and her name appears on an agreement transferring ownership of the WGD.

Defendant Fred Pascente was Reynold's friend, and accompanied Reynolds at the WGD on September 12, 2003. (Id. at ¶ 63.)

B. The Opening of the World Golf Dome

The WGD facility opened in November 1999, offering an indoor driving range and all-season space for sporting events. In addition to the Dome, the facility included a brick structure that housed office space and a restaurant. Within one week of being elected in 1999, Mayor Landek met with WGD co-owners Gustafson and LaFlamboy to discuss how the Village could assist business at the WGD. (R. 371-1 at ¶ 5.) Mayor Landek also recommended Defendant DeVries to the Plaintiff. (R. 371-1 at ¶ 2.) DeVries later leased space in the WGD's brick structure and opened a restaurant called the Scoreboard.

At the time of the WGD's opening, on November 12, 1999, Plaintiff obtained from the Village a temporary business license, (R. 343-3, Village Defs.' Ex. 12), and a temporary Certificate of Occupancy. (R. 343-6, Village Defs.' Ex. 69A.) The Certificate of Occupancy states that it is "per letter of intent." (R. 343-6, Village Defs.' Ex. 69A.) The letter of intent, signed by Plaintiff, listed seven open tasks to be completed and required Plaintiff to provide a $60,000 letter of credit to guarantee completion of the listed tasks. (Id.) As of November 17, 1999, the Village had not yet received the letter of credit, and so Defendant Curry sent a letter to Plaintiff notifying him that his "business is immediately 'Closed.' After we receive the letter of credit, a new Temporary Certificate of Occupancy Permit will be issued." (R. 343-6, Village Defs.' Ex. 66.) On that same date, November 17, 1999, Defendant Curry issued two Village Citations, Nos. CC-689-201 and CC-689-202, citing Plaintiff for occupying a building without an occupancy permit and for operating a business without a business permit. (R. 343-6, Village Defs.' Ex. 66.) The next day, November 18, 1999, Plaintiff sent a letter to Defendant Curry confirming that the $60,000 letter of credit had been delivered to Curry on November 18, 1999 at 2:30 pm and requesting that the Village issue a new Temporary Certificate of Occupancy. (R. 343-6, Village Defs.' Ex. 69.) The Village issued another Temporary Certificate of Occupancy on November 19, 1999 subject to the same stipulations in Plaintiff's November 12 letter of intent. (R. 373-1 at ¶ 22.)

Defendant Curry denied Plaintiff's business license application on December 14, 1999, citing "insufficient parking." (Id.) The parties agree that Village Zoning Ordinance 98-08 required that the WGD maintain 150 spaces. (Id.) Plaintiff testified, however, that the WGD did, in fact, have 150 spaces when it opened in 1999. (R. 394-1 at ¶ 21.)*fn12 When Plaintiff's tenant, Defendant DeVries, later applied for a business license on April 6, 2000, his application stated that The Scoreboard (part of the WGD facility) had 250 parking spaces. (Id. at ¶ 21.) The Village granted DeVries' request for a business license. (Id.)

C. Village Citations

Plaintiff alleges the Village Defendants engaged in a pattern of issuing overzealous and/or wrongful citations in order to harass him into selling the WGD. In addition to the November 17, 1999 citation, for example, the Village issued a December 8, 2001 citation for failing to obtain a proper business license. (Id. at ¶ 22.) When the citation issued, the Village placed a sticker on the door of the WGD. (Id. at ¶ 23.) Plaintiff removed the sticker from the WGD door and received yet another citation for unlawfully defacing a Village of Bridgeview sticker. (Id.) Plaintiff also complained that, after the December 8, 2001 citation issued, Village police officers sought to drive away WGD customers. (Id.)

In another instance, the Village issued another citation to the WGD on September 24, 2000 for permitting weeds to grow too high. (Id. at ¶ 24.) Plaintiff does not deny that the weeds were too high but notes that he cut the weeds and the citation was dismissed. (Id.) Plaintiff also points to the testimony of Village police officer Kenneth Keyser regarding an incident in which Defendant Sloan asked Keyser to "take a ride down to the golf dome and issue a citation for tall weeds," which Keyser claims he refused because he "was uncomfortable issuing a citation for something that I don't normally issue citations for." (Id.) The Village Defendants do not dispute this testimony but note that Keyser also testified that the citation-for tall weeds-was warranted.

The Village also issued citations to Plaintiff on October 14, 2000 and April 27, 2001 for serving food without a permit. (Id. at ¶ 25.) The October 14, 2000 citation resulted from a pizza business serving food in the WGD during a haunted house event. (Id.) The Village issued the April 27, 2001 citation when a third-party organization hosted an event for disabled children at the WGD. (Id.) Plaintiff testified that the organization ordered pizzas to be delivered to the WGD and Defendant Curry arrived shortly thereafter and "started screaming at them they can't eat pizza." (Id.)

In another incident, a Village police officer issued a citation to Plaintiff for disobeying a police order, namely dumping truckloads of stone in the WGD parking lot after being ordered not to do so. (Id. at ¶ 26.) According to Plaintiff, Defendant Curry sent Plaintiff a letter notifying him that the WGD parking lot had eroded and requesting that Plaintiff add additional stone to the area. (Id.) Plaintiff complains that he ordered the stone, but when it was delivered, the police arrived and inexplicably told him not to dump the stone. (Id.) Plaintiff admits that he dumped the stone after being told by the police not to do so. (Id.)

On December 14, 2000, the WGD received four citations, for: (1) storing combustible materials; (2) maintaining fuel fire heaters without permission; (3) possessing heating devices which failed to comply with standards; and (4) inadequate ventilation. (Id. at ¶ 27.) Plaintiff admits the underlying grounds for which the December 14 citations were issued. (Id. at ¶ 27, 28.) On July 21, 2001, the Village issued Defendant Allan Gustafson a citation for a faulty security fence around the WGD. (Id. at ¶ 29.) Gustafson also received, on July 31, 2001, a citation for maintaining debris on the WGD premises. (Id.)

The Village dismissed all citations issued to Plaintiff, Defendant Gustafson, and the WGD between 1999 and 2001 either because the citation amount was paid, or because Plaintiff demonstrated that he had corrected the underlying issue. No citations were dismissed based on any judicial finding that the citation was unfounded. Plaintiff presented some evidence, however, that Village officials used their "power to issue or deny residents a license or permit to do business-for the purpose of forcing businesses to turn over income or property to Mayor Landek and his allies." Plaintiff offered no evidence, however, that Mayor Landek instructed Curry or Kaput regarding the issuance of citations to the WGD.

D. Special Events at the WGD

Plaintiff also alleges that the Village Defendants repeatedly blocked Plaintiff's attempts to make money through non-sporting events at the WGD. The WGD also hosted some 4500 members of the public at the "Tattoo the Earth Concert" on July 26, 2000. (R. 373-1 at ¶¶ 35, 36; R. 364-3 at ¶ 13.) Prior to the concert, on June 21, 2000, Mayor Landek sent a letter to Plaintiff stating that he had not yet met his conditions of occupancy, as stated in Plaintiff's November 12, 1999 letter of intent, and that it would be "extremely difficult" for Plaintiff to complete the tasks before the event. (R. 373-1 at ¶ 114.) Plaintiff did not obtain a special use permit for the "Tattoo the Earth" concert. (Id. at ¶ 41.) Despite the concerns expressed in Landek's letter, and despite the fact that the Village contended that the WGD had neither an occupancy permit nor a business license, the concert was not cancelled.

An agreement between Plaintiff, Defendant DeVries, and the concert's promoters governed the proceeds of the "Tattoo the Earth" concert. This contract required the WGD to donate a portion of the concert revenue as a "political donation." (Id. at ¶ 42.) Plaintiff asserts that the donation was meant for Mayor Landek as a kickback. Specifically, Plaintiff testified that Defendant DeVries told Plaintiff that he should pay the kickback if he wanted to stay in business, (R. 434-1, Pl.'s Ex. 76A; R. 344-2, Village Defs.' Ex. 173), and that when Plaintiff complained to Mayor Landek soon thereafter, the Mayor did not deny the kickback. (R. 434-1, Pl.'s Ex. 61; 76A.) Plaintiff has admitted, however, that he did not personally see Mayor Landek receive revenues from the concert. (R. 373-1 at ¶ 43.) Two days after the concert, Plaintiff contacted federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the alleged illegal conduct by Village officials. (R. 364-3 at ¶ 13.)

Plaintiff planned another event-a public dance called the "Boogie Tribe Dance Party"-at the WGD for late August 2000. On or about August 9, 2000, Defendant Cainkar sent a letter to Plaintiff expressing the Village's concerns regarding possible zone violations relating to the party. (R. 373-1 at ¶ 45). When Plaintiff failed to seek a special one-day temporary use permit from the Village, Defendant Cainkar, the Village's attorney, sought a temporary restraining order against Plaintiff. (R. 373-1 at ¶¶ 45-46). Plaintiff agreed to the injunction, and he cancelled the party. Id.

In December 2000, Mayor Landek arranged for the WGDto host a Christmas party for the Bridgeview bank. (R. 373-1 at ¶ 5.) Neither party submitted evidence as to (1) whether the Village issued a special one-day temporary use permit for the event; (2) how many people attended the event; or (3) whether food was served at the event.

E. Fall 2000 Appraisal

Plaintiff further claims that as part of the scheme to gain control of the WGD, Mayor Landek ordered an appraisal of the WGD without notifying Plaintiff. In late fall 2000, Plaintiff met with Mayor Landek in Landek's office. The parties disagree as to the specific substance of the conversation, but Landek testified that at some point during the conversation, Landek asked Plaintiff how much he would accept for the WGD. Landek testified that Plaintiff ...


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