Naperville City Council member Dick Furstenau says the city owes him $129,000 for his troubles, and he's threatening to sue to get his money. Guess who ends up paying, either way?
The taxpayers, that's who. Because even if the councilman sues the city and loses, it costs the city time and money to defend itself against such an uncivil action. This has got to be one of the more bizarre disputes in recent memory. Not since the iPod days have hardheaded, stubborn people curried so much attention.
Think about it: Furstenau should have expected the city's reaction to his letter asking it to pay the legal fees he racked up defending himself after he was arrested for allegedly shoving a police officer. (The city said good luck, we don't owe you a cent.) He was found not guilty. While awaiting trial he lost an election, which he blames on bad publicity related to his arrest, so his demands include compensation for that.
Even if he has a valid case, this creates strange situations. If the council goes into executive session to discuss "pending legal action," does he have a right to be there? Can the rest of the council demand that he leave? It's all so strange. He may have been wronged by the city, but if he sues, shouldn't he give up his seat on the council? Or, on the other hand, do you think he should sue the city and keep his council seat?