Thursday, August 16, 2007

Judge dismisses 2 Daley allies as defendants in suit

I had put this Crain's article in my, but I figure I can put this on the blog too...
A judge has dismissed two of Mayor Richard Daley's allies as defendants in a developer's lawsuit against the city.

The developer alleges the city illegally shut down his project when he wouldn't give in to demands for financial favors and kickbacks.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan found that because Timothy Degnan, a former top aide to the mayor, and developer Thomas DiPiazza aren't public officials and have no authority to make governmental decisions, they should not be defendants.

The judge also dismissed on Wednesday six counts of Thomas Snitzer's lawsuit against the city and Stan Kaderbek, a former building commissioner, including conspiracy charges and 1st Amendment violations. But he did not dismiss two civil rights counts against them.

The ruling is a blow to Snitzer, who alleges he was forced out as manager of the Bridgeport Village development project because he wouldn't offer financial favors and kickbacks to political operatives.

At the center of those allegations was Degnan and DiPiazza. According to the lawsuit, the two tried to shake Snitzer down, with DiPiazza warning Snitzer that "by not doling out these special favors Snitzer was not showing them 'proper respect.'"

The lawsuit alleges that Degnan directed Snitzer and his partners to hire DiPiazza as a consultant so that his 115-home project along the Chicago River on the city's Southwest Side would receive favorable treatment from City Hall.

The city has maintained that the reason Snitzer was removed as manager of the project and a stop-work order was issued was because of building code violations.

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