Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE HARVEY POLICE PENSION FUND, Plaintiff-Appellee,
CITY OF HARVEY, an Illinois Municipal Corporation, Defendant-Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 06 CH 15468
Honorable Kathleen M. Pantle, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Simon and Mikva concurred in judgment and
1 The City of Harvey appeals from a circuit court order
enforcing the terms of a settlement agreement entered into
between the City of Harvey and the Board of Trustees of the
Harvey Police Pension Fund. In 2006, the Board of Trustees of
the Harvey Police Pension Fund filed suit against the City of
Harvey for various violations of the Illinois Pension Code.
In February 2008, the parties entered into a settlement
agreement by which the City of Harvey agreed to pay the
Harvey Police Pension Fund $551, 079.83 in back property
taxes the City of Harvey had collected but failed to remit.
The City of Harvey also agreed, commencing with the 2006-2007
fiscal year, to annually levy a tax upon all taxable property
as required in section 3-125 of the Illinois Pension Code.
The parties agreed that the circuit court would retain
jurisdiction to enforce the agreement until the back property
taxes were repaid.
2 In December 2010, the Harvey Police Pension Fund filed a
motion to compel enforcement of the settlement agreement. It
alleged the City of Harvey was failing to honor its
obligations under the settlement agreement. The City admitted
it had outstanding obligations under the settlement agreement
but disputed the amount being claimed by the Harvey Police
Pension Fund. The City of Harvey filed a motion for summary
judgment, alleging that the circuit court could only enforce
the provision dealing with back property taxes and not the
provision concerning the collection of taxes beginning with
the 2006-2007 fiscal year. The circuit court rejected this
argument and found it could enforce the entire agreement. The
court also found the City of Harvey had failed to collect
taxes beginning in 2006 but found there was a dispute as to
the amount which should have been collected.
3 The parties agreed to hire the actuarial firm of Foster
& Foster to determine the amount of property taxes the
City of Harvey should have collected and remitted beginning
in 2006. The report was filed with the circuit court and
showed what the City of Harvey should have levied commencing
in the 2006-2007 fiscal year through the 2013-2014 fiscal
year. Thereafter, the City moved for summary judgment,
arguing that it owed the Harvey Police Pension Fund only the
amount listed for the 2013-2014 fiscal year and not the
previous years. The circuit court rejected this argument and
entered judgment for the Pension Fund in amount of $7, 334,
181.88. After additional briefing, the circuit court also
awarded the Harvey Police Pension Fund attorney fees. This
timely appeal followed.
4 On appeal, the City of Harvey challenges the circuit
court's authority to enforce the back property tax
provision, which resulted in the majority of the money
damages entered against it. It also challenges how the
circuit court calculated those damages. Finally, it
challenges the award of attorney fees in favor of the Harvey
Police Pension Fund. For the reasons set forth more fully
below, we reject the City's arguments and affirm the
judgment of the circuit court entered in favor of the Board
of Trustees of the Harvey Police Pension Fund.
6 On September 29, 2015, the circuit court entered a final
judgment in favor of the Board of Trustees of the Harvey
Police Pension Fund and against the City of Harvey in the
amount of $7, 334, 181.88, plus $45, 568.75 in attorney fees.
On October 28, 2015, the City filed its notice of appeal.
Accordingly, this court has jurisdiction over this matter
pursuant to Article VI, Section 6 of the Illinois
Constitution, and Illinois Supreme Court Rules 301 and 303.
Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 6; Ill. S.Ct. R. 301 (eff.
Feb. 1, 1994); Ill. S.Ct. R. 303 (eff. May 30, 2008).
8 This action stems from a settlement agreement entered into
by Plaintiff-Appellee, Board of Trustees of the Harvey Police
Pension Board (hereinafter "the Pension Fund"), and
Defendant-Appellant, the City of Harvey (hereinafter
"the City"). On August 2, 2006, the Pension Fund
filed a complaint against the City, seeking a declaratory
judgment that the City failed to levy a tax pursuant to
section 3-125 of the Illinois Pension Code. On February 2,
2008, the parties entered into a settlement agreement
(hereinafter "the Settlement Agreement"), and on
February 19, 2008, the case was dismissed.
9 Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the City
agreed to pay the Pension Fund the sum of $551, 079.83 as
payment for property taxes levied and received by the City
and not remitted to the Pension Fund. The City also agreed to
pay $6, 404.21 in attorney fees. The Settlement Agreement
required the City to pay the Pension Fund $50, 000 per month
until the sum of $551, 079.83 was repaid. Additionally,
pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, the City agreed that
beginning in the fiscal year 2006-2007, "the City shall
annually levy a tax upon all taxable property of the City, as
required in Section 3-125 of the Illinois Pension Code."
Finally, the parties agreed that the circuit court would
retain jurisdiction over the action for the purpose of
enforcing the agreement "only until the City has re-paid
the Pension Fund the sum owed to it under section A(1) of
this agreement, including the attorney's fees provided
10 On December 6, 2010, the Pension Fund filed a motion to
compel enforcement of the Settlement Agreement, alleging that
the City had failed and refused to perform its obligations
under it. The motion to compel alleged that the City failed
to remit approximately $494, 005.84 to the Pension Fund. On
May 24, 2011, the City filed its response to the motion to
compel, admitting it owed money to the Pension Fund but
denying it was the amount stated in the motion. On May 31,
2011, the circuit court granted the Pension Fund's motion
to compel and ordered an accounting in order to determine the
exact amount owed by the City to the Pension Fund.
11 Thereafter, both parties moved for cross-summary judgment
on the amount owed to the Pension Fund. In moving for summary
judgment, the City asserted, pursuant to the 2008 Settlement
Agreement, the circuit court only had the authority to order
the City to pay the outstanding balance owed pursuant to
section A(1) of the Settlement Agreement. Based on this
argument, the City asserted it owed only $227, 812.23. The
Pension Fund disagreed and asserted in its motion for summary
judgment that the City owed it money under both A(1) and A(8)
of the Settlement Agreement. The Pension Fund claimed it was
entitled to $1, 312, 750.84. The circuit court agreed with
the Pension Fund that the City was liable under both A(1) and
A(8) of the Settlement Agreement and entered judgment in the