United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Honorable Thomas M. Durkin United States District Judge.
Assets Sales and Transfer Partnership (“FAST”), a
partnership with its principal place of business in
Tennessee, alleges that the Village of West Dundee
incorrectly assessed certain property taxes related to a
business improvement district on a share of a shopping center
FAST owned at the time of the allegedly incorrect
assessments. (FAST no longer owns the property.) FAST alleges
that David Danielson is also responsible for this error in
his capacity as the Village's finance director. FAST
alleges further that the two Springhill Gateway LLC
defendants (one organized in Delaware, the other in
Illinois), which also own a share of the shopping center,
improperly received the benefits of the business improvement
district to FAST's detriment. The Court previously
dismissed FAST's claims against the Village and Danielson
(the “Village Defendants”). See R. 74
(Bank of Camden v. Village of West Dundee, 2014 WL
6655892 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 21, 2014)). The Court gave FAST the
opportunity to replead, which FAST did by filing a fourth
amended complaint. R. 107. The Village Defendants have moved to
dismiss the claims against them for failure to state a claim
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). R. 111.
For the following reasons, that motion is granted.
12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the
complaint. See, e.g., Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of
Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir.
2009). A complaint must provide “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), sufficient to
provide defendant with “fair notice” of the claim
and the basis for it. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This standard “demands more
than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). While “detailed factual allegations”
are not required, “labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The
complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
“‘A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.'” Mann v.
Vogel, 707 F.3d 872, 877 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). In applying this standard,
the Court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and draws
all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
Mann, 707 F.3d at 877.
special service area in the State of Illinois is an area
designated by a municipal governmental entity for
redevelopment pursuant to the implementation of a statute of
the State of Illinois known as the Special Service Area Act,
35 ILCS 200/27-5 et seq.” R. 107 ¶ 9. The
statute permits a municipality to issue bonds to raise funds
for improvements within the Special Service Area
(“SSA”), which are then repaid with a special
property tax levied on the taxpayers in the SSA. Id.
¶¶ 10, 17-21.
Springhill Gateway Shopping Center is located in the Village.
Id. ¶ 6. The Shopping Center is divided into
two sections, east and west. Id. ¶¶ 6-8.
FAST owns the east section, whereas the Springhill Defendants
own the west section. Id.
Village adopted an ordinance establishing an SSA to fund a
renovation of the Shopping Center. Id. ¶¶
15, 17. The ordinance authorized issuance of $2.95 million
worth of bonds. Id. ¶ 17. The Village only
issued $1.5 million worth of bonds. Id. ¶ 19.
FAST alleges that its tax assessment was incorrectly based on
the potential $2.95 million in bonds, rather than the $1.5
million that was actually issued. Id. ¶ 21.
FAST also alleges that this error has affected it
disproportionately relative to the west section of the
Shopping Center owned by the Springhill Defendants.
Id. ¶ 29. FAST alleges that this error has
devalued its share of the Shopping Center by $500, 000.
Id. ¶ 28.
addition to the tax assessment error, FAST alleges that the
Village improperly prevented it from leasing space in its
share of the Shopping Center to the Salvation Army by denying
the Salvation Army the necessary business license.
Id. ¶¶ 66-78. FAST alleges that if it had
been able to lease space to the Salvation Army it could have
sold its share of the Shopping Center for $2.85 million.
Id. ¶ 77. FAST alleges that because it was
unable to lease space to the Salvation Army it was
“forced” to sell the property for $1, 968, 750.
Id. ¶ 76.
also alleges that the Village Defendants have improperly
refused to reimburse it for renovation expenses that should
be covered by the SSA funding. See Id. ¶¶
39-54. The disbursement of SSA funds is governed by a
contract, the “Disbursement Agreement.”
See R. 107-2 at 3-9. The Disbursement Agreement
includes language “excluding reimbursement.”
Id. at 3 (Section 1.01). But FAST argues that this
language only applies to expenses incurred before the
Disbursement Agreement took effect.
Count I of the fourth amended complaint, FAST seeks damages
from the Village Defendants for the “diminution in
resale value, ” R. 118 at 6, of its former property due
to the alleged tax assessment error. In Count III, FAST seeks
to have the Village reimburse it for certain renovation costs
pursuant to the Disbursement Agreement. In Count IV, FAST
seeks those same reimbursements on an equal protection
theory. And in Count V, FAST alleges that the Village
tortiously interfered with its lease agreement with the
Count I of the fourth amended complaint, FAST alleges that
the Village incorrectly calculated the SSA tax FAST owed on
the Shopping Center. FAST seeks relief for this allegedly
incorrect tax assessment based on the allegation that the
mistake “devalued” FAST's share of the
Shopping Center “by approximately $500, 000, ”
and that this “devaluation has adversely affected the
resale value of [FAST's share of the Shopping
Center].” R. 107 ¶ 28. These alleged facts were
also included in Count I of the third amended
complaint. But in that iteration of the complaint, FAST
claimed that the Village Defendants violated the SSA Act not
simply by imposing an improper tax amount, but by improperly
using the tax revenue to “disproportionately
benefit” the share of the Shopping Center FAST did not
own. FAST argued that the Act requires “a rational
relationship between the amount of the ...