A judge has again dismissed a lawsuit brought by La Salle County State’s Attorney Karen Donnelly, which sought return of SAFE money passed on to Spring Valley, Ottawa and La Salle.
Donnelly filed suit last year against Spring Valley, Ottawa and La Salle to recover $573,451, which Donnelly claimed the cities improperly received from the now defunct La Salle County State’s Attorney’s Felony Enforcement unit.
Circuit Judge Robert Marsaglia tossed the suit Dec. 15, but permitted Donnelly to refile the case with different arguments, which she did.
On Monday, Marsaglia stood by his December position, dismissing the refiled suit.
Donnelly issued a statement Monday, in which she vowed to appeal.
“We are obviously disappointed in the judge’s ruling dismissing our petition. This is a significant setback to the taxpayers of La Salle County. In light of continuing liability in ongoing cases filed by SAFE detainees, it is now clear that the program was a financial disaster for La Salle County. Although, if this ruling is allowed to stand, Spring Valley will have profited handsomely.
“What is especially troubling is that the judge apparently based his ruling on an agreement that no one has ever seen. We will promptly appeal to reverse this injustice” Donnelly said.
Donnelly’s predecessor as state’s attorney, Brian Towne, formed SAFE in 2011 to interdict drugs, mostly marijuana, and grab drug money from drivers on the local stretch of Interstate 80. The unit stopped operating after it was declared illegal in court.
Donnelly has said she wanted the $573,451, because the money will likely have to be returned to those from whom it was seized.