Appeal from Circuit Court of Sangamon County No. 11L41 Honorable Patrick W. Kelley, Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Turner
4th District Appellate
PRESIDING JUSTICE TURNER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Justices Steigmann and Knecht concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 In July 2009, a federal arbitration panel awarded $237,207.11 to plaintiff, Michael Gillick, and the sum was remitted to defendant, Michelle R.B. Saddler, Secretary of the Department of Human Services (DHS), as custodian and trustee. Saddler withheld $53,991.67 and remitted the balance to plaintiff. In July 2011, plaintiff filed an amended complaint for writ of mandamus against Saddler and defendant, Dan Rutherford, Treasurer of the State of Illinois, demanding the withheld funds be paid to plaintiff. In August 2011, defendants filed a motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted.
¶ 2 On appeal, plaintiff argues the trial court erred in granting defendants' motion to dismiss. We affirm.
¶ 4 "For the purposes of providing blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarging the economic opportunities of the blind, and stimulating the blind to greater efforts in striving to make themselves self-supporting," the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act (Act)
(20 U.S.C. §§ 107 through 107f (2006)) authorizes blind persons licensed under the Act to operate vending facilities on federal property. 20 U.S.C. § 107a(a)(5) (2006). The Act gives blind vendors a preference in the creation of new vending facilities on federal property (20 U.S.C. § 107a(b) (2006)) and also requires a percentage of income derived from vending machines located on federal property to be turned over for the benefit of blind vendors (20 U.S.C. § 107d-3 (2006)).
¶ 5 The size of the contribution depends on whether a vending facility is in direct or indirect competition with a licensed blind vendor. 20 U.S.C. § 107d-3(b)(1) (2006). For example, all income from vending machines in direct competition with a blind vendor is redistributed to blind vendors, while half the income from vending machines that are not in direct competition with a blind vendor accrues to blind vendors. 20 U.S.C. § 107d-3(b)(1) (2006).
¶ 6 The blind vendor program is administered jointly by the federal government and the states. At the federal level, the Rehabilitation Services Administration within the Department of Education administers the Act. 20 U.S.C. § 107a(a)(1) (2006). At the state level, participating states are responsible for the licensing of the vending facility operation and to "give preference to blind persons who are in need of employment." 20 U.S.C. § 107a(b) (2006). In Illinois, the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind, a division of DHS, serves as the licensing agency under the Blind Vendors Act (20 ILCS 2421/10 (West 2010)).
¶ 7 Plaintiff is a blind vendor licensed under the Act and has operated vending facilities at the United States Postal Service's processing and distribution center in Chicago. His permits allowed him to operate four breakrooms with a total of 13 vending machines on the third floor of the center. Also located on the third floor is an employee cafeteria operated by a private company, Ace Coffee Bar, under contract with the Postal Service. In May 2004, plaintiff complained to DHS that he was harmed by competition with the coffee bar, which operated 17 vending machines in two locations in the cafeteria, including the rotunda area.
¶ 8 In November 2004, plaintiff filed a grievance against DHS, arguing the State licensing agency had failed to adequately protect his interests in the vending facility and had failed to act against the Postal Service for its violations of the Act. After reviewing plaintiff's grievance, DHS agreed with him and determined it should ...