Chicago, Park Grill investors launch appeals, counter-appeals over rulings in Millennium Park restaurant deal fight
The legal fight over the fate of the Park Grill restaurant in Chicago’s Millennium Park will continue in the courts in 2016 and perhaps beyond, as the city of Chicago and the restaurant’s operators each prepare for appeals and counter-appeals of a Cook County judge’s decisions in a case over an allegedly crooked restaurant deal that has already cost taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees and court costs.
The former CEO and president of Intelligentsia Coffee says his former business partners owe him $15 million, which he said is the amount he is entitled to under his employment agreement with Intelligentsia following the company’s sale to Peet’s Coffee last month. On Nov. 19, Robert Buono, a former lawyer who made a fortune in real estate development before taking over management at Intelligentsia, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against Intelligentsia and its cofounders.
While Chicago city officials sued the owners of the Park Grill restaurant to collect millions of dollars in taxes and fees that would otherwise have been paid into the city’s coffers, the years-long litigation which failed to persuade a judge the deal was too crooked has cost the city’s taxpayers millions in legal fees, as well. In September, Cook County Judge Moshe Jacobius shot down the lawsuit brought by Chicago City Hall to undo a deal cut by the Chicago Park District with a group of invest
Slowness of City Hall to move against Park Grill torpedoes its chances to undo'sweetheart' deal to counter bad press, judge says
In the latest scene in a years-long saga cutting across Chicago’s culture of politics and clout, a Cook County judge has said Chicago City Hall and Mayor Rahm Emanuel cannot undo a deal cut by the Chicago Park District under former Mayor Richard M. Daley to allow a group of Chicago investors – including some with ties to the former mayor – to operate the restaurant in Millennium Park, simply because city officials wished to now get on the right side of bad publicity surrounding the “sweetheart d