CHICAGO—Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA) announced today that representatives of the taxpayer organization are going to canvas in the communities of the Riverside-Brookfield Government School District 208, to raise awareness about the organization’s lawsuit regarding illegal electioneering by the school district in 2011.
“When we challenged the electioneering activities used by the Riverside-Brookfield Government School District, we knew it wouldn’t be easy,” said Tobin. “But the actions of the school board were so blatant, we had no choice.”
Those sentiments were echoed by co-plaintiff Anthony Peraica, former Cook County Board member, and concerned taxpayer in Riverside-Brookfield.
“Teachers, janitors – all the other unions conspired with the school leadership last year to use taxpayer funds illegally to raise property taxes,” said Peraica. “And unless someone stands up to them, they’re going to get away with it like they have for decades.”
The suit charges that the government school district used taxpayer funded resources, school equipment on school grounds and inside the school building, to promote the referendum, as well as recruiting students as “volunteers” to distribute pro-referendum material. Finally, the suit charges that public resources were used to fund a pro-referendum mailing and TV campaign ad, and used phrasing on the ballot to intentionally mislead voters with a significant understatement of the actual financial impact of the referendum.
Judge Leroy K. Martin Jr. expressed his concern regarding the gravity of the alleged misuse of public funds for electioneering activities of the school board, especially the possible violation of the civil rights of those opposing the referendum.
District 208 lawyers made a motion to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, but Judge Martin denied the motion, allowing the suit to proceed in amended form. The hearing on the amended complaint will be held on April 5, 2012 before Judge Martin, in Cook County Circuit Court, one year to the day after voters struck down the bid to raise property taxes.