The owners of several Wrigley Field rooftops have filed court documents describing the Cubs' recently-approved revision to its renovation plan for the century-old stadium as "retaliatory."
Although the revised plan the Commission on Chicago Landmarks approved last month reduces the number of proposed signs in the outfield, the rooftop owners claim the ball club moved the placement of the signs in a way that will still block their views of the park, but not the ones from the rooftops the Cubs contracted to purchase.
The rooftop owners filed a complaint Thursday, asking the Cook County Circuit Court to reverse the commission's Dec. 4 decision to preliminary approve the Cubs' revised renovation plans, as well as its July 10 decision that provided the initial thumbs up.
The Cubs modified its plan shortly after the National Parks Service raised concerns over the originally proposed outfield signage, which included two Jumbotrons and a handful of signs for advertising, would take away from Wrigley Field's historic and architectural features.
The ball club, according to the rooftop owners' complaint, is seeking tax breaks from the Parks Service stemming from its multi-million dollar renovation that is already underway and tore down the bleachers.
"Instead of substantively modifying the outfield sign plan, the Cubs reconfigured the outfield signs so as to completely block the views of the Rooftops the Cubs were unable to purchase and to restore the views of the Rooftops the Cubs contracted to purchase," the owners allege.
The complaint marks the latest court filing the rooftop owners have brought over the Cubs' proposed renovations, which the ball club has insisted are essential to the future viability of both the Cubs and Wrigley Field.
The rooftop owners filed a lawsuit in August against the city and its commission, claiming the plan violates an ordinance governing landmarks, as well as a 2004 agreement between the Cubs and the rooftop owners, because among other allegations, it would block their views and basically put them out of business.
They also allege Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other city officials negotiated with Cubs’ owners behind closed doors, and then pushed the plans through he commission in violation of the rooftop owners' constitutional rights to due process and equal protection.
The rooftop owners repeated many of the arguments lodged in that suit in the latest filing, saying "unlike other applicants, the Cubs' proposals were rushed through without the customary review because all City Departments were directed to give the Cubs whatever they wanted."
They went on to allege that after the commission gave its preliminary approval in July, the "Cubs demanded that the rooftops agree not to sue in connection with the left field Jumbotron and the right field sign..." Obviously, as evident from the lawsuit they filed in August, the owners didn't agreed. The suit remains pending, although it is now being heard in federal court, where the city in September removed it to. The next court date is set for February.
In its complaint seeking review, the rooftop owners have asked a judge to reverse the commission's July 10 and Dec. 4 decisions, revoke any city permits issued pursuant to those decisions and make the city file a complete record of the administrative proceedings (they claim they don't have access to whatever materials the Cubs gave the commission before last month's meeting).
They also want a judge to issue a judgment declaring the parties right and an injunction to stop the Cubs' construction of the outfield signs and additional bleacher seats.
Chicago attorneys Thomas S. Moore and Jane F. Anderson of Anderson & Moore P.C. submitted the complaint on behalf of the rooftop owners.
The rooftop owner plaintiffs named in the suit include the following: Right Field Properties LLC; Right Field Rooftops LLC; Rooftop Acquisition LLC; 3633 Rooftop Management LLC; Standard Bank and Trust Company Trust 21101 and 21100; Sheffield-Waveland Rooftop Inc.; GWR Properties LLC; Wrigley Rooftops I LLC; Wrigley Rooftops III LLC; Wrigley Rooftops IV LLC; Annex Club LLC; and 3701 N. Kenmore LLC.