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Donald Meyer v. Village of Minooka

October 9, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George M. Marovich


Defendants Village of Minooka ("Minooka") and James Grabowski ("Grabowski") removed to this Court a four-count complaint filed by plaintiff Donald Meyer ("Meyer"). The Court has twice dismissed Meyer's § 1983 class-of-one equal protection claim for failure to state a claim. Meyer has filed a second-amended complaint in a third attempt to state a claim. Defendants have filed both a motion to dismiss and a motion for sanctions. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the motion to dismiss and denies the motion for sanctions.

I. Background

For purposes of this motion to dismiss, the Court takes as true the allegations in plaintiff's complaint. The Court may also consider the documents plaintiff attached to his complaint. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c).

Meyer is a real-estate developer who has (or his wholly-owned corporation has--it is not clear which), over the years, developed in Minooka a number of properties, including Bonita Vista, Westview Unit 1, Westview Unit 2, Rivers Edge Units 1-4, Vista Commons Unit 1, Vista Commons Unit 2, Vista Commons Unit 3, Vista Commons Unit 4 and Vista Commons Unit 5.

Over the years, Meyer has deposited with Minooka various amounts of money to cover fees associated with the development of his land. For example, in 1996, Meyer deposited with Minooka $3,000.00 for Westview Unit 1. Between 1995 and 2001, Meyer deposited $8,000.00 for Rivers Edge, and in 2001, Meyer deposited $3000.00 for Westview Unit 2.

In 2007, Meyer was working on developing Vista Commons, Unit 4 with a partner. Defendant Grabowski, Minooka's Village Administrator, required Meyer to apply for a variance for Lots 12 and 13 of Vista Commons, Unit 4, because plaintiff wanted those lots to be set back or to have an odd width (the details are not clear in the complaint). Minooka granted the variance for Lot 12 and conditionally approved it for Lot 13.

In the meantime, Meyer's partner applied for a permit to build on Lot 13 of Vista Commons, Unit 4. That permit was never granted.

Meyer alleges that in June or July of 2009, Minooka sent him 44 invoices for about $36,000.00. Meyer's attorney requested clarification. In response, Minooka's Assistant Village Administrator, Steve Pala, sent Meyer a letter to which he attached a summary of the amounts Meyer owed Minooka. According to the summary, Meyer owed Minooka $6,438.89, including $3,168.72 in interest. The summary allocates the amounts owed to Bonita Vista Development, River's Edge PUD, Village Building Corp, Vista Commons #5 and Westview #2.

Meyer alleges that, in reality, he did not owe Minooka any money, because Minooka had made errors in the billing. Meyer alleges, for example, that he was billed $450.00 when Minooka mowed an area of Bonita Village. According to Meyer, Minooka should not have mowed Bonita Village and, therefore, he does not owe Minooka this money. In addition, Meyer argues that Minooka failed to apply his $3000.00 deposit for Westview # 2. Next, Meyer alleges that Minooka failed to credit him for a payment of $270.00. Meyer alleges that, due to these errors, he actually owed Minooka nothing.

On October 5, 2009, Grabowski wrote Meyer a letter in which he informed Meyer that Meyer's request for a building permit for "Lot 13 in Vista Commons" was denied based on a Minooka ordinance. That ordinance states, in relevant part:

Prior to the consideration, issuance, granting or renewal of any . . . permit . . ., the village department . . . shall contact the finance department to determine whether any monies are due and owing in excess of sixty (60) days to the village from the applicant in relation to the project in regard to which the license or permit is intended to be used. If moneys are found to be due and owing . . . , said . . . permit . . . shall not be issued . . . until all moneys due and owing to the village have been paid in full, and the finance department so certifies. (Minooka Ordinance 1-13-1).

Meyer alleges that he was treated less favorably than other entities. For example, Meyer alleges that other entities, including Meadowbrook Homes and Opus North, were granted permits even though they owed money to Minooka. He also alleges that such entities as Pulte Group, Pilot Travel Centers and Amg Homes were granted permits while not owing money to Minooka. In addition to three state-law claims (for ...

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