ERIC E. GREGG, Plaintiff-Appellee,
BRUCE RAUNER, Governor of Illinois, Defendant-Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of Saline County. No. 15-L-29
Honorable Todd D. Lambert, Judge, presiding.
Attorneys for Appellant Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, State
of Illinois, David L. Franklin, Solicitor General, Brett E.
Attorney for Appellee Thomas F. Crosby, Winters, Brewster,
Crosby, and Schafer, LLC.
JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Justice Barberis concurred in the judgment and opinion.
Justice Overstreet dissented, with opinion.
HONORABLE THOMAS M. WELCH, JUSTICE.
1 The plaintiff, Eric Gregg, filed a complaint against the
defendant, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (Governor Rauner),
to challenge his removal from the Illinois Prisoner Review
Board (IPRB). Governor Rauner moved to dismiss the complaint,
arguing, in pertinent part, that his decision to remove Gregg
from the IPRB was not judicially reviewable. The trial court
denied the motion to dismiss, finding that Governor
Rauner's decision was reviewable under the Illinois
Supreme Court's decision in Lunding v. Walker,
65 Ill.2d 516 (1976), because the IPRB is a quasi-judicial
board, independent from the executive branch. Following a
trial on Gregg's complaint, the court concluded that
Gregg was wrongfully terminated and entered an injunction
prohibiting Governor Rauner from interfering or preventing
Gregg from exercising his appointed duties with the IPRB and
barring Governor Rauner from appointing Gregg's
replacement. For the reasons that follow, we reverse and
remand for further proceedings.
2 In May 2012, Governor Patrick Quinn nominated Gregg to be a
member of the IPRB. At that time, the Governor's office
provided Gregg with a statement of economic interests form to
complete, which related to his income and any gifts he had
received in 2011. On May 20, 2012, Gregg returned the
completed form in which he wrote "None" in the
space provided to identify any gift valued over $500.
3 Gregg was not appointed to the IPRB until April 26, 2013,
because he was recovering from an illness. Upon his
appointment, the Governor's office filed his May 2012
statement of economic interests form with the Illinois
Secretary of State's office. He did not complete a
statement of economic interests form for calendar year 2012.
4 In September 2013, during Governor Quinn's
administration, Charles Will notified a senior legal advisor
in the Illinois Department of Corrections that Gregg had
failed to list income and a gift received on his statement of
economic interests form. According to Will, Gregg had
received a medical lift chair as a gift on April 4, 2013,
which was not reported on his statement of economic interests
form. Ken Tupy, the IPRB's legal counsel at the time,
investigated these complaints, but neither the IPRB nor the
Governor's office took any action. On November 7, 2013,
the Illinois Senate approved Gregg's appointment for a
six-year term to end on January 21, 2019.
5 On December 8, 2014, Gregg filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
On December 22, 2014, his bankruptcy attorney filed a form
entitled "Chapter 13 Statement of Your Current Monthly
Income and Calculation of Commitment Period, " which
indicated that Gregg had received a net monthly income of
$4027 from operating a business. Gregg signed the document
under penalty of perjury, declaring that the information on
the form was true and correct.
6 Tupy received a letter from a Belleville News-Democrat
reporter, inquiring as to whether the $4027 net income listed
on Gregg's bankruptcy filing constituted a violation of
section 3-3-1(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS
5/3-3-1(b) (West 2014)), which prohibits IPRB members from
engaging in any other business or employment.
7 In August 2015, Gregg's attorney filed an amended
Chapter 13 statement of current monthly income form, which
attributed the monthly business income to Gregg's wife.
On September 16, 2015, Gregg received a letter from Jason
Barclay, General Counsel for the Governor's Office,
informing him that the Governor's office had received
complaints that he had violated the terms of his appointment
by receiving outside income and by filing an inaccurate
statement of economic interests form.
8 On September 20, 2015, Gregg sent a letter to Barclay,
explaining that his bankruptcy was triggered due to
delinquent medical bills, that his bankruptcy attorney had
inadvertently placed his wife's business's income in
"[his] column" on the bankruptcy filing, and that
his attorney had acknowledged the clerical error and had
filed an amended form to correct the error. The letter also
addressed the allegations that he had filed an inaccurate
statement of economic interests form. Specifically, the
letter explained that a community fundraiser was held on his
behalf to offset the cost of his medical bills; that the
raised funds were placed in an account with a local church,
and he did not have access to the account; that he did not
know how much each person had contributed; that the statement
of economic interests form was completed on May 20, 2012,
during his illness and recovery but before he received the
medical lift chair as a gift; and that the information from
the Belleville News-Democrat appeared to be supplied by an
individual who was terminated from his city employment while
Gregg was mayor.
9 On October 2, 2015, Governor Rauner terminated Gregg's
appointment with the IPRB for malfeasance or complete
incompetence and neglect of duty, explaining that Gregg's
response acknowledged and constituted an admission that he
had filed a false statement under oath in federal bankruptcy
proceedings and that his 2012 statement of economic interests