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City increase$ Furstenau defense fund

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The City Council last week approved an increase of $120,000 to the money set aside by the city to cover litigation costs in the civil rights lawsuit that Councilman Dick Furstenau has brought against the city. The original funding for this lawsuit was in the $400,000 range and, well, just do the math...now it''s more than a half a million dollars. This comes at a time when the city is holding its annual operating budget workshops with the goal of trying to maintain a comparable tax rate to the past few years in the face of declining revenues such as the real estate transfer tax. Isn't it ironic that one of the overseers of the budgeting - the aforementioned Councilman Furstenau - is in a position of being a fiscal watchdog of city money while at the same time $500,000 (and counting) of Napervillians' taxpayer money is being diverted to defend the lawsuit that he himself brought on the city? Anyone have any ideas on this?

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43 Comments

Jim Lynch...

Has anyone on the blog heard the rumors buzzing around downtown Naperville that the City has hired private investigators sent them out to interorgate various business owners as to whether they have ever been politically mistreated or targeted by Mr. Furstenau for supporting Mr Furstenau's political rivals.

Has the City of Naperville formed its own Gestapo?

Jim - is this a question that the Naperville Sun can ask the City Manager or the City Attorney? I would think that if there is any truth whatsoever to the rumor, that City Officials should be called to task for employing a "divorce court" litigation strategy.

Jim Lynch, thanks for deleting Barry Quigley's phone # from his stupid organization of one. P.S. Barry, we know why you hate NPD!! Rt 59/Montgomery Rd., Naperville. Scott Huber/Huber for Mayor 2010.

Note from Ted, host:

Taxpayer, you should know that about 15 percent of the entire Furstenau interview ended up on the cutting room floor. What was cut was redundant. Sorry if you didn't like the flow. That's how the conversation went. What we printed was raw, the way it actually happened, not polished like our usual news stories. Real-life conversation doesn't read like a Hollywood movie script. I think you're being pretty harsh. We did, after all, give him an enormous platform to express his side over the course of three days.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Taxpayer and Host Ted,
I agree with both of you that the Furstenau interview did not flow well at all. The spoken word does not flow like the written word. Cutting 15% made the flow even worse. Not editing which is to Furstenau's favor, also damaged the flow.

Maybe the Napergate Man was smarter than we think he was. He may have realized this flow problem and stuck with paid ads. I guess you have to pay for ads if you want what you say to come exactly as you say it, unedited. There is a price for everything in this world.

anonymous

you make a good point. i do know a little about furstenau's decision. he has alluded to it on many occasions, including his censure council meeting. he basically never wanted a lawsuit, and he tried for several months to let it go and move on. he even tried to find restitution with the city on several occasions that didn't involve being financially compensated or publicly apologized to. but the reason why, in the end, he couldn't just let it go was because they initially tried, and tried very hard, to charge him with a crime that would have put him in PRISON for 15 YEARS. that is the part he could not look the other way about.

they trumped up a charge and smeared him in the public for political reasons and a misdemeanor "slap on the wrist", fine. but they wanted to destroy his life and send him away. he could not let that type of abuse of power go unchecked. that point will be a big part of this case, and the evidence of what lengths the police went to will be damning. they tried to convict him of a felony and put him in jail for 15 long, and they didn't even have enough evidence to convict him of disturbing the peace. he was found innocent of that charge also.

jim

in response to your last paragraph while responding to me:

I agree 100%, and that is my entire point. i know what i stated about what reality would be was based on the "IF" of furstenau winning. i also agree that you may be able to say he wasted taxpayer money "IF" he loses. it's my whole point against the sun that it's final statement in todays editorial that "no matter who wins, the taxpayer will lose" was premature, short-sighted made it clear that the only perspective the sun evaluated was a financial one. it continually reports and berates about the money involved, yet it has never considered, or reported a story, or editorialized about the more important issues that could be in play.

it clearly demonstrated that the sun did not consider the big picture of what the reality would be IF he wins. they didn't consider that many would actually consider it a much more important service worth the cost of the 600k. many people would consider a win by furstenau to be a priceless victory for our citizens to expose and possibly remove corruption from such an important area within our city.

that statement was an unfair one to make, and it exemplified the sun's lack of understanding of the scope of furstenau's case and the complete ramifications if furstenau is, in the end, right. the sun is only looking at it from a money standpoint. it was a total dis-service to councilman furstenau by failing to acknowledge there could be more important things at stake.

you must forgive me since i am a business and money man, and i don't posses good writing skills that allow me to be more succinct. my point about the biased reporting can be boiled down more simply by saying: since this story first began 2 years ago, the number of stories, columns, editorials etc. written with a tone, or innuendo, very biased against furstenau out numbers any that may show support or lack innuendo probably 6 to 1. your 3 day long column was a great, good faith attempt to run his story, but the lack of flow did make it confusing to follow at times. i would have enjoyed an editorialized-type version of furstenau's side that he helped verify in conjunction with the interview. that would have taken less space and been much more informative to what his version of events is.

thank you for posting my comments and moderating this forum.

In all fairness to Mr. Furstenau, is there anyone who really thinks the he did not put a lot of thought and contemplation into this before making his decision. After watching him think and deliberate on issues before the city council for many years I have never had cause to question his decision making capabilities. Do any of us think he would be less thorough or less considerate of all aspects of an issue that involves him personally?

Think about your own decision making process. Think about the decision you have agonized over. And make no mistake, Mr. Furstenau agonized over this one. Think about weighing pro and con. Think about sleepless nights. Think about how it will affect you, your family, your friends, your business, your community, your position, your reputation.

And even after considering all of these many factors he was compelled so strongly that he filed a lawsuit. This is not a wrongful complaint. This is not a close call. This is not something that just crossed the line. Mr. Furstenau would never have pursued this unless there simply was no other option.

Mr. Furstenau has once again demonstrated that he has a strong moral compass and I for one am glad that he is following his conscience and his convictions. Some things just are not right Mr. Furstenau knows right from wrong. Hopefully the moral compass within all of the other city council members will soon unite and point in the right direction.

My prediction is the city legal team will suck every taxpayer dollar they can out of this for as long as they can. The week before trial they will call a strategy session and all of a sudden find all kinds of new weaknesses (likely from discovery and depositions) in the city's case and recommend a quick settlement before it goes to trial. And in typical lawyerly fashion it will be a settlement offered with no admission of guilt or wrongdoing. Yes, they will close ranks and try to protect each other.

At that moment is when Mr. Furstenau will have to make his most difficult decision yet.

jim lynch

i couldn't disagree more. when you ran that article about the interview with furstenau, it was premised by you admitting that, in the interest of space, you had to chop it down and chop answers down. as a result, your story was so chopped up that it was nearly unreadable and, at times, incomprehensible. on several occasions, one sentence didn't even connect with the next. it was obvious that things were left out and that many of the things they were explaining did not come across. i was often left wondering what they were trying to say, and more confused in the end.

furthermore, you ran that 1 story in an attempt to tell furstenau's side, and, in the mean time, have run dozens of stories and editorial columns that have berated him and his arrogance to sue the city as an elected official. the sun has also given his opponents voice and support a dozen times over. you yourself have written probably 3 editorials negative towards him.

todays editorial put out by the sun is another great example of the sun's transparent bias against him. furstenau has not only prided himself in fiscal responsibility, he as also prided himself and an advocate of taxpayers in every way. is the sun so short-sighted or close minded to consider any ramifications other than financial cost? that no matter who wins the suit, the citizens will be losers? are you serious?

has the sun ever really considered the ramifications of what the reality will be if furstenau wins? ask yourself, what will the reality be if furstenau wins? it will be that 3 npd officers, including the chief of police, knowingly and willfully abused their entrusted powers to falsely charge and accuse a man and throw him in prison for 15 years over something that never happened! it will also mean that there were some city officials aware of what was going on and did nothing to stop it. that is what reality will be if furstenau wins. it will mean that one person finally had the courage to stand up to the powers-that-be, knowing the public smearing he would have to endure, to expose corrupt individuals abusing their power (one of the highest and most sacred powers in our country), at the citizen's expense, and removing them from positions where they could possibly do more harm. that is what reality will be if furstenau wins.

does the naperville sun not see value in that? would they not consider that the type of service from an elected official that far out shadows its 600k cost? i know i would, and i know many people who have felt abused by the npd over the years that also would.

if the sun doesn't, shame on the sun.

of course, your all about freedom of speech and freedom of the press unless it talks negatively about the sun. i guess the sun can dish it out to others but can't take it themselves.

Note from Ted, host:

Taxpayer, you should know that about 15 percent of the entire Furstenau interview ended up on the cutting room floor. What was cut was redundant. Sorry if you didn't like the flow. That's how the conversation went. What we printed was raw, the way it actually happened, not polished like our usual news stories. Real-life conversation doesn't read like a Hollywood movie script. I think you're being pretty harsh. We did, after all, give him an enormous platform to express his side over the course of three days.

I don't know what you mean by "dozens" of columns and editorials against Furstenau. We've done many straightforward news stories on the issue, if that's what you mean. Not a ton of columns and editorials.

Finally, the points you attempt to make in your conclusion are all based on a pretty big "what if." It could easily be flipped around on you. What if the suit is tossed and Furstenau wasted a lot of the city's time and taxpayers' money, what then? I won't waste any more time elaborating because it's purely speculative.

To Taxpayer: I junked your last post because I'm not in the business of letting someone like you trash this newspaper - especially when you don't know what you're talking about. For the record, we had Furstenau and his lawyer in here for a 3-hour on the record interview followed by the city's lawyer the next day for a 2-hour on the record interview. We've reported this story accurately, fairly and comprehensively. We've explored every angle of this story in a balanced manner. So by flinging all those allegations you only serve to make yourself look like an idiot and you should be thankful to me for killing your comment. At least this way you don't look like an idiot to the other bloggers who are so much more well-versed on this issue than you.

To Mr. Quigley: Sorry, had to delete your last post. I can't run a phone # on the blog without having absolute verification of its authenticity and that of the organization it purportedly represents. I'm sure you'll understand where I'm coming from. Thanks.

Anonymous,
Translation of the last line of the Sun editiorial on page 8 of today's Naperville Sun:
"He can stop doing that now" refers to the previous sentence "always prided himself, with justification, on being a fiscal conservative and a responsible steward of residents' tax dollars."

Get it?

It must have been a really busy day in the newsroom yesterday. This morning's editorial in the Naperville Sun offers nothing new on this issue that has not already been hashed over and over in the past. "Taxpayers sure loser..."? Duh! Like we needed a half page editorial to come to that conclusion on our own?

Another wasted half page of intellectual potential. Who reviews and approves this stuff before the paper goes to press? Maybe you need a Starbuck's next door because someone is dozing off if editorials as weak as this can slip thru.

Besides being a total yawn of a read I suffered thru it hoping there was some thought provoking comment in there somewhere. Nope.

Then I read the very last sentence. "He can stop doing that now." Huh? What the heck does that mean? Who is he? Stop doing what? Why?

Is the Naperville Sun referring to Mr. Furstenau? Since this is the last sentence in the paragraph is the Naperville Sun referring to what was written immediately before this sentence? Is the Naperville Sun suggesting Mr. Furstenau should stop taking pride in in his work? Is the Naperville Sun suggesting Mr. Furstenau should stop demanding justification on issues brought before the city council? Is the Naperville Sun suggesting Mr. Furstenau should stop being fiscally conservative? Is the Naperville Sun suggesting Mr. Furstenau should stop being responsible? Is the Naperville Sun suggesting Mr. Furstenau should stop being a steward?

If there was a point to this editorial, and I'm not really sure there was at best the editorial review process within the Naperville Sun failed miserably for such a substandard piece to slip thru. I'd rate it a "C" for effort and give it an "F" for content. Surely the Naperville Sun can do better than this?

Anonymous (the other Anonymous?),

Unlike you, I know the exact definitions of my words. As listed at dictionary.com the definition of extort is "to wrest or wring (money, information, etc.) from a person by violence, intimidation, or abuse of authority; obtain by force, torture, threat, or the like."

As posted on a previous thread, to extort is often illegal, but it does not have to be illegal to extort.

Duress is defined at dictionary.com as "compulsion by threat or force; coercion; constraint."

Those definitions reflect exactly what I intended to convey.

Regarding your comment:
"Threatening a bully lawsuit? No threatening. No bullying. News flash! Mr. Furstenau has filed a legal lawsuit."

Please reread Furstenau's letter to the city from last August to see if you notice that he threatened a retaliatory law suit if his demands for money and an apology from the city were not met. I view his words as threatening, bullying, coercive, and an attempt to extort money from the city. That is my view whether you agree or disagree. The link to the letter was included on my post at 12:19 pm on Feb. 27.

Anonymous (taxpayer?),
Many of your responses directed to me on this matter pertain to comments I did not make. Please don't fabricate what you think I might think, or what you think I might say. You shouldn't have to misrepresent my views by deception to make your points.

Regarding your following statement:

"if it merely claimed some technicality after he was found innocent, it would have been thrown out by the first judge who reviewed it as a waste of time." Posted by: Anonymous | February 27, 2008 01:55 PM

Who is the judge you refer to who has reviewed the case and not thrown it out of court as a waste of time? For that matter, when was this case heard before a judge, and in what court of law?

Southwest,

You stated: "Do you really think it would have been right for the city to allow Furstenau to extort taxpayer dollars for personal and political purposes in order to avoid a trumped-up, lawyer-driven civil rights lawsuit? Do you think Furstenau should hold the city under duress by threatening a "bully" suit?"

Extort? Last time I checked extortion was illegal. Nothing Mr. Furstenau has done with filing a lawsuit is either illegal or remotely close to extortion. Trust me, the NPD would be jumping up and down if he had done anything even close to extortion or even close to illegal for that matter.

Duress? You know I like Mr. Furstenau's approach and style. He is pretty straightforward, sometimes blunt, honest, and when needed aggressive. Fantastic qualities and traits of someone who represents us. So while he does possess these abilities which help him carry out his duties as a city council member much better than many other sitting behind the same dais I do think you must be off your meds if you seriously think Mr. Furstenau has the ability to hold the City of Naperville under any form of duress.

Threatening a bully lawsuit? No threatening. No bullying. News flash! Mr. Furstenau has filed a legal lawsuit. So far the judge has not agreed with your contention by having thrown it out as a nuisance or frivolous.

Other than to inflame others there really is no logical explanation of your poor choice of words; unless of course you simply don't understand the actual definition of the words you use.

Taxpayer,

While I'm sure Furstenau and his attorney are not assuming that the outcome of the criminal case proves that he was completely innocent of the charges, and is further proof of his allegations in the civil case, some people seem to think otherwise. I don't know if that was Anonymous' point, but other posters on earlier threads on the Potluck blog have said as much.

If everything you say is true, and DF's attorney is able to prove it in court, then it sounds like he'll win going away. We'll see....

-JQP

Taxpayer,
The NPD does ALTER documents. If you study the most recent Napergate Arrest Case they changed the time of his release from 6am to 4am in an attempt to decrease the time he was incarcerated to try to take heat off the NPD for imprisoning him overnight over what amounts to nothing but a $1.60 toll violation unintentionally committed by his teenage daughter 3 to 3.5 years prior. Almost an unbelievable story that they would go to such extremes in abusing their discretion and jailing him overnight instead of releasing him immediately on an I-Bond! Especially since he had a dog with him!

Both his friends with first hand knowledge both stated he was released eihter 530am or 6am. He even has witnesses who work at Dunkin Donuts that can testify he was released at that time.

It is very well known that the NPD alters documents. Former States' Attorneys who are now defense attorneys will tell you so but they call it embellishment instead of altering. Same thing different word to soften what they do!

john Q

you are absolutely right. furstenau winning his criminal case will provide little, if any, proof toward helping furstenau win this case. furstenau's case and allegations go much deeper than "i was found innocent therefore i must have got screwed." that isn't his point at all.

his point is that he and his attorney believe, and have proof to support, that the npd purposely and knowingly investigated him, arrested him and took him to trial when this incident should have never gone there in the first place. he alleges that the npd altered documents to better match eyewitness testimony, corroborated together, ignored eyewitness testimony, changed their version of events multiple times, and pushed for 15 years in prison when the only thing they had to go on was hull's uncorroborated story itself, which changed several times over the year and a half it took to go to court and conflicted with all eyewitness testimony. im sure there are several other things we have no idea about, but furstenau's attorney, who specializes in federal civil rights cases, is so convinced of the evidence he is doing all his work free and will only be paid if they win.

he is basically saying their probable cause they keep yammering about was a trumped up sham to begin with. and that they made an arrest and prosecuted an individual that in the "real world" outside of their attempt to screw him should have never taken place.

"Exactly and the standards of proof are much higher in a criminal law case than in a civil law case."

Yes, but in the criminal trial, it was up to the government to prove it's case. In the civil trial, the burden of proof will be on Mr. Furstenau. And while DF's attorney can be expected to stress the he was acquitted, a decent attorney on the other side will make sure the jury understands that this does not prove that his arrest was unwarranted, much less that it was motivated by a desire to punish and/or humiliate him.

I am not saying DF doesn't have a case. I don't really know. I'm just saying that his victory in the criminal trial does not mean the civil trial will be a slam dunk.

Expect unlimited funding to prevent a loss by the City, unless the City Council intervenes to settle the suit.

Posted by: Mark | February 27, 2008 11:55 AM

__________________________________________________________________


Mark,
Unlimited funding could not prevent all the losses to the Napergate Man in his numerous trials. Don't be too optimistic on this point. The Napergate Trials literally had unlimited funding. 7 or 8 attorneys were involved! Two outside powerful law firms and a 9 person in house legal staff.

So unlimited funding could not prevent a loss in the Napergate Case. Why do you think it could prevent a loss here?

The only difference is the records for the unlimited fundng in the Napergate Case are buried with former Mayor Samuel Macrane in his sealed coffin.

Since DF is a council member it would be hard to hide the funding from him. So we may know the true cost of the Fursteanu Trial. We already know it is over a half a million and it has not even started. Only fools like our City Officials would waste half a million dollars of our tax money on egos instead of settling a case for 50-100k. Were egos and arrogance also involved in the Napergate Case? How soon we tend to forget?

It does seem laughable that the 5 year Napergate Trial ending up costing the City of Naperville 5-10k. I wish DF could look into how the City covered up the records for the cost of the Napergate Trial while he awaits his own trial.

Anonymous is apparently dating Furstenau.

southwest your missing the point and making assumptions that furstenau hit hull. he didn't. his actions didn't lead to anything. he wasn't arrested at the time because he didn't do anything that warranted being arrested. you want to quote the judge all the time about what he said about hull, but what about what he said in regard to furstenau. the judge said, "any contact that MAY HAVE BEEN MADE was CLEARLY INCIDENTAL AND NON-THREATENING."

the judge says even if the cops were able to prove contact was made, which they weren't, it was clear that contact was not something worthy of offense or arrest. that is why he wasn't arrested at the time nor did the sergeant that was present at the time hint that any investigation or arrest may come in the future. it wasn't until 5 days later that the big-wigs in the npd decided to USE this incident to target and smear furstenau. that is why hull didn't file until 5 days later.

you say the investigation was thorough and that is the reason it took 18 days. fine. what about the fact hull didn't file an incident report for 5 days. the LAW STATES that a battered officer must file a report IMMEDIATELY and IMMEDIATELY notify a superior and STATES ATTORNEY. he did none of the above. at least not until after dial and the union president told him to or else 5 days after the fact.

you continue to state and assume hull didn't arrest furstenau because he was aware of the possible repercussions and he wanted to be careful. hull is on record as saying he didn't arrest furstenau on the spot because furstenau punched him so hard in the chest that he was stunned and in shock at what happened. what a bunch of bullsh--! they used that version of events to try and file for felony assault on an officer that would have put furstenau in jail for 15 years. then, by the time the case went to trial, hull had changed his story to say furstenau merely "touched" him with the back of his hand in an offensive way. Which version is the truth? not to mention that every eye witness they interview backed furstenau's story. hull's incident report was later altered to better match eye witness testimony. doesn't this sound like a lynch-job to you? or are you so naive to believe that the npd could stoop to such things?

if you go in 5 days after someone beats you up and press charges and there is no one to back your story and every eye witness contradicts your story, do you think the cops proceed to arrest anyone? what about if you said you wanted to amend your story to better match what the witnesses said? would they arrest someone then? NO WAY IN HELL. that is all that happened here. the only difference is that the cops were the ones in control at every level.

the suit isn't alleging a "technicality" that was missed or overlooked inadvertently. it alleges a blatant misuse or abuse of power. it alleges that the npd new all along that furstenau didn't do anything that warranted arrest but it proceeded to fabricate or ignore evidence to lead to the arrest they wanted in order to publicly smear him. if the suit merely claimed some technicality after he was found innocent, it would have been thrown out by the first judge who reviewed it as a waste of time. it alleges that the npd decided that they wanted to target furstenau and did what it had to do to get him and due process be damned. and all indications are that this suit has a great deal of merit because it isn't going away. the judge is allowing it to proceed with all the named defendants, and the city continues to raise the amount of money required to defend it. if was frivolous it wouldn't need the 600k they currently seek. and i have news for you, it will cost double that amount by the time its over.

this is a federal judge not some municipal divorce court judge. they tend to be much smarter, more stern, and more acute to the law than to allow frivolous cases proceed.

you can think furstenau is a jerk and unreasonable all you want. in the end, the truth of all of it will come out and you will be stunned at all that took place. i simply know 1 too many stories about the npd and cover ups and illegal behavior to think that what furstenau alleges couldn't happen.

but you are absolutely right about the fact the issues here are much bigger than the money, for both sides. if the city wins, it will be debatable weather it was worth the cost of bad press and over $1 million when it could have been settled for 100k. if furstenau wins and proves that cops really did abuse their power to try and throw a man in jail for 15 years without cause, it will be worth every penny to expose them and remove them from positions where they could try and screw more people the same way.

Is anyone with me? Shouldn't we just give Furstenau a $1 million settlement and move on? I know it will cost tax dollars but it's better to move on.

Besides, we do have the funds to do it.

Taxpayer & Anonymous,

The bottom line is the fact that Furstenau's actions caused the incident leading to his arrest even if it took 18 days for a decision to charge him. It is apparent he was given preferential treatment. As someone else stated, if it had been one of us, we would have been arrested on the spot. Any actions or inactions during the delay did not produce a conviction, so the point is moot.

Getting lawyered up to nit-pik reports of events looking for technicalities after the fact is an obvious attempt to bully and harrass the city for not complying with his demands for payment as seen in his letter at:

http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=38546

Do you really think it would have been right for the city to allow Furstenau to extort taxpayer dollars for personal and political purposes in order to avoid a trumped-up, lawyer-driven civil rights lawsuit? Do you think Furstenau should hold the city under duress by threatening a "bully" suit? Actually, the issues here are bigger than the money, and legal hassles. In this case I support the city as my advocate. I do not support Furstenau's actions.

If the City wins the lawsuit, Mr. Furstenau will receive no compensation or apology.

If Mr. Furstenau wins the lawsuit, a number of senior managers in the City Government may loose their jobs starting with the City Attorney.

Expect unlimited funding to prevent a loss by the City, unless the City Council intervenes to settle the suit.


anonymous is right on the issue. furstenau has already offered to settle on more than one occasion. he told the city he would file if they didn't and they called him on it and he did as he said he would. now the city has already spent more in legal defense then they would have if they would have settle for what furstenau asked, and we are still a couple of years away from trial.

he is also right on about the naperville legal department. this incident along with one or two others has totally undressed their total incompetence. they have given the city bad advice from the beginning on every issue related to furstenau and displayed complete lapses in judgment at times when they chose to continue to publicly talk a write statements which continued to smear furstenau and advance his case. it wasn't until they brought it outside council that they were all told to shut up and stop releasing statements to the press. duh!

i have made this prediction before and i will again. margo ely will lose her job over this when it becomes so readily apparent how poorly she advised the city on more than one occasion.

one other prediction from out of my keister. this process will uncover the fact that our own "beloved" city manager peter t. b. was dirty and involved in much of this investigation himself. i predict it will be discovered that both he was involved in illegal activities in an attempt to bring this whole thing about. that is why i believe that he suddenly quit his good job, pulled his kids out of school, and moved 2,000 miles away for a job outside his life-long career path within weeks of the suit being filed. he said he was too ill to work. but apparently not too ill to work 2,000 miles away. and i also predict that on or more of the named npd officers will lose their jobs as well when it all comes out what took place. i also believe that hull was in the unfortunate position of being a man stuck between a rock and a hard place when it came to doing what he was told by his superiors to do.

Oh, please! Lawyers argue "conflict of interest" all the time. Lawyers are PAID to argue. If there was a law that said lawyers could only argue the TRUTH they would all be out of business. 90% of lawyering is bluff and bluster.

Mr. Furstenau isn't dragging this on, the city of Naperville is. He offered to negotiate first remember? I guess they didn't believe he was serious so he was forced to file. The city was not "right" to refuse Mr. Furstenau by any means. The city had certain options and up until now has choosen a certain course of action.

It is far from being a fact that this was the right course of action and may, in fact, be a very wrong course of action. There are lots of things at stake here. Money being just one issue. If the city council guesses wrong or is led by their legal team down the wrong road path on this case the voters will throw every one of them out when their term expires.

The city still can and should negotiate in good faith. So far they have not even attempted which only adds to their own lack of credibility and sense of playing fair. They could have kept this private and out of the public eye and saved all Napervillians the embarrassment. Instead they have bullied and provoked Mr. Furstenau.

Let's not soon forget the letter from the city manager. Thank god he resigned. Good riddance. He works for the city council. God only knows what he was saying about the other members behind their backs. In the private sector you treat your boss like that you can expect to get fired. Hopefully his replacement will have more tact and demonstrate a lot more respect to those elected by the people.

The city can negotiate privately, they can negotiate publicly, they can seek arbitration, or they can let this go to trial. As long as the city council remains blinded by their own egos and arrogance this will remain a train wreck headed for a judge and jury.

OH, and good luck convening a jury who will be sympathetic to what the city has done.

southwest you are apparently not smart enough to understand the issue at hand and what is being tried, even after it has been explained to you so many times.

it doesn't matter that the judge ruled that officer hull, "did nothing wrong". furstenau isn't suing the city and officer hull over what took place that day on the corner while cars were being towed. that event won't even be part of this trial. it has already been ruled on. he isn't even claiming hull did something wrong. none of what furstenau alleges in his suit has any inference of misconduct on the part of hull during the incident.

this trial is about what happened after that. what happened between the time hull and furstenau separated and went their own ways until furstenau was arrested 18 days later. it is what took place during those 18 days that will be tried. the judge's "hull did nothing wrong" statement had nothing to do with what took place during that period of time.

the city will need to do more than simply prove their arrest was based on probable cause. it will have to prove that every part of its investigation and filing for charges was done properly with no violation of furstenau right to due process. was the incident report recorded and filed timely and properly. did the incident report change, and why. did they interview witnesses appropriately. did they ignore evidence that would have cleared him. did they inappropriately alter or change documents. did they violate any rules when filing for charges. did their story or version of events change and why. those are the types of things that will be scrutinized. not what hull did that day on the corner. that will have nothing to do with this trial.

one thing everyone should keep in mind, and this is a fact, is that npd arrested furstenau based on the uncorroborated testimony of officer hull. they had no eye witnesses to back his story of events even though it took place with dozens or more than a hundred people around. his story of events also changed multiple times from the original incident report he filed. on the other hand, there were several eyewitnesses that were interview by police that said they saw the whole thing and furstenau never touched hull. those are facts and, in the very least, tell me that something with the npd investigation or their intent was not 100% above board.

furthermore, i agree with anonymous about all this recuse bs. furstenau is voting on how taxpayer money is spent and city needs are financed. he has every right to vote where the money comes from to defend his suit or how it is raised. he just shouldn't have any say on how it is actually spent defending his suit. if he should recuse himself over such a nit-picky issue, then the mayor should recuse himself as well. after all, this suit names npd as the major organization at fault and the mayor is a retired cop collecting a npd pension. he is more likely to defend the npd to the death rather than do what may be in everyones best interest and possibly settle and let the npd accept any implied fault. how can he be trusted to make sound decisions free of bias? it's the same thing. i don't think either of them should have to recuse themselves, but if you think one should, then the other should as well.

Furstenau has dragged this on for far too long. He needs to take responsibility for his actions that lead to his arrest. The judge said the officer did nothing wrong.

As I have stated before, the city was right to refuse Furstenau's demands to use our tax dollars to pay off his political cronies, and political debts. Now he's retaliating with this lawsuit to waste even more tax dollars. What kind of watchdog for the taxpayer is he? He continues to sit on the council, and vote on budgets and finances directly linked to the city he is suing! As the lawyer with over 20 years experience stated before City Council back in December, it is a conflict of interest! Furstenau needs to stand up for what's right, and drop the "bully" suit, or resign.

Exactly and the standards of proof are much higher in a criminal law case than in a civil law case. True the issues are different, but they are interdependent not independent issues.

Let's not forget one of the most important elements either - the jury. We have a single individual up against the government... the system. He was charged and tried and was not convicted. It would be extremely hard for a jury not to picture Mr. Furstenau as having been wronged by this. Mr. Furstenau had a lot of actual expenses defending himself against prosecution plus his good name got dragged all over the news, possibly to the extent that it caused him to loose an election.

It would be extremely hard for any juror with average intelligence and any kind of a kind heart not to place themselves in the situation and wonder how they would feel and what they would want for themselves to right such a wrong. And just in case they don't think of this on their own Mr. Furstenau's attorney is most likely to ask them to consider it.

This is a dream case for Mr. Furstenau's attorney. The city attorneys have no vested interest and could care less. They get paid by the hour win or loose. They hope and pray this case will drag on and on for years. Maybe even go thru a few appeals. One can only imagine the schmoozing going on at city hall when one of these legal windfalls gets doled out. How about following those breadcrumbs Naperville Sun? Might be real interesting to follow some campaign contributions from all of these law firms to various elected officials.

Hey, if this is such a slam dunk case for the city to win, here is a fair challenge. Let's put the city's legal team under a contract where they only get paid if they win. Or how about a two tiered payment system... a low level of pay if they loose and a higher level of pay if they win. Then let's see just how many law firms are even remotely interested in representing our fair city. The city council needs to have enough smarts to see thru the legal talk and ask themselves one simple question... are these lawyers telling us this just to stroke our ego and make us feel better knowing full well they will get paid either way.... or can they/will they actually win this case?

Maybe, just maybe someone on the city council will be smart enough to suggest they go get a second opinion... before it's too late.

"Actually Mr. Furstenau's case will be much easier to win under civil law as opposed to criminal law."

These are two different cases, with a different set of issues, and different standards of proof.

"From a statistical perspective those who file first in civil law cases have a higher margin of winning."

Perhaps, but it is a non sequitur to conclude from this that the civil case will be easier to win than the criminal case.

All the city has to prove is that there was probable cause to make an arrest. The defense should be that simple and not go after any stupid red herrings that are being thrown around.

How disappointing that this case has come to this. Mr. Furstenau is the type of guy every board should be proud to have. His aggressive
management style can be a great asset to this community. Unfortunately he has chosen to put his personal feelings in front of those of the greater good of the community and this will only cost more for all Napervillians. An apology from the police dept. & a thank you for the countless hours served in this community should be enough. But then again with all the lawyers around, can we as a community expect anything less than what seems to be evolving.

Actually Mr. Furstenau's case will be much easier to win under civil law as opposed to criminal law. From a statistical perspective those who file first in civil law cases have a higher margin of winning. Similarly, when such cases are negotiated to a settlement those who file first tend to get much closer to what they were actually seeking. It is never a good sign to me named a plaintiff in a civil suit.

Putting ego and arrogance aside the City Clerk better have the city checkbook open the desk and be ready to sign a check made payable to Mr. Furstenau. At this point it's not really a question of IF, rather a question of HOW MUCH and WHEN. Though the longer the rest of the members of the city council remain blinded by their own ego and arrogance the longer this will be drawn out and the more it will cost everyone in the long run. In the end we will all have to put another city official embarrassment behind us and the only people who will really benefit from the whole sordid mess will be the lawyers. Now is the time for someone, anyone on the city council to demonstrate some true LEADERSHIP. Step up to the plate, offer an apology, offer a fair settlement, and we can all move on.

I'm not interested in spending 500+K on lawyers for something that can be settled for around $100K nor should any reasonable taxpayer. Let's cut our losses and move on. We are being lied to by some members of staff and the city council when they say they are fighting this on principle. First off if they had any principles an arrest that never should have taken place would not have. Second, they need to understand the difference between principles and arrogance.

I look at it this way. If the taxpayers are upset over Mr. Furstenau receiving what he requested they will vote him out of office. On the other hand, if Mr. Furstenau wins and city council spend all this money and looses the taxpayers will be after their scalps, the city will have to pay Mr. Furstenau, and the city will still have to work with Mr. Furstenau as an elected official. Don't underestimate how many people are silently rooting for Mr. Furstenau as the underdog who was done wrong here. They will vote loud and with conviction come next election.

To our elected city council members... NOW is time to wave a white flag or offer an olive branch. You started this mess when you allowed a case as weak as this to lead to an arrest and a trial. You lost your case. You are on the defensive. You must work out a solution. Save the taxpayers the embarrassment of another trial that you will surely loose. Settle this mess. Do it quickly. Your own political futures hangs in the decisions you will make.

A good question is asked above:Why doesn't the Sun perform an actual investigation of this matter? In fact, why doesn't the Sun perform any actual investigations anymore (Savini does not count!)

Note from host:

Maybe you missed our report Sunday on the contract for the county jail food service, and our investigation into the many piano customers who feel shortchanged by the Biasco brothers, a story that every other news outlet in the Chicago area picked up after our investigation.

"And the City of Naperville did not win their case. Now they are in civil, not criminal, law where the rules are different and they will have an even more difficult time winning their case."

Actually, since DF is the plaintiff, HE is the one who will need to make his case in the civil suit. The City of Naperville's job should be easier this time around.

Recuse? Why?

There is no legal requirement or precedent for him to do so. Possibly the legislature should address some of these aspects of modern day life and lawsuits and public officials. Let's not soon forget our Chief Justice here in Illinois and his own case last year.


If recuse is in order then maybe the major should step out on every issue affecting the police department. Let's not forget that his financial health is tied to to his pension as a retired police offices.

Yes, conflicts of interest surround us and as is the case of the Chief Justice, the mayor, and Mr. Furstenau it is not always easy to serve two masters... our own interests and the interests of those who elect us to represent them. So far nothing Mr. Furstenau has done in the performance of his duties on the city council would indicate to me that he should recuse himself. In fact, I personally think the mayor was out of line and without a valid legal basis for asking Mr. Furstenau to voluntarily step out of some of the discussions. Mr. Fursteanau did demonstrate that he is more of a gentleman than the mayor by complying with the request.

Well, when we elect someone with a high school eduction to be mayor I guess we need to expect they will make decisions at a high school level.

Recuse? Why?

There is no legal requirement or precedent for him to do so. Possibly the legislature should address some of these aspects of modern day life and lawsuits and public officials. Let's not soon forget our Chief Justice here in Illinois and his own case last year.


If recuse is in order then maybe the major should step out on every issue affecting the police department. Let's not forget that his financial health is tied to to his pension as a retired police offices.

Yes, conflicts of interest surround us and as is the case of the Chief Justice, the mayor, and Mr. Furstenau it is not always easy to serve two masters... our own interests and the interests of those who elect us to represent them. So far nothing Mr. Furstenau has done in the performance of his duties on the city council would indicate to me that he should recuse himself. In fact, I personally think the mayor was out of line and without a valid legal basis for asking Mr. Furstenau to voluntarily step out of some of the discussions. Mr. Fursteanau did demonstrate that he is more of a gentleman than the mayor by complying with the request.

Well, when we elect someone with a high school eduction to be mayor I guess we need to expect they will make decisions at a high school level.

Anonymous –

I, too, think that everybody deserves to have their day in court and I look forward to seeing all the facts from DF’s case (both sides). But I wish it wouldn’t have taken a lawsuit for the facts to come out.

That being said, DF should be very careful about the budgets and votes he makes and be sure to recuse himself from anything that would have even the appearance of a conflict with his pending case.

I agree that the city’s delay in bringing the original charges was a poor decision. At this point, and without all the facts, there’s no way to know what caused the delay. You seem to indicate it was incompetence, while it could also have been paralysis caused by knowing the repercussions of charging a city councilman in the middle of a primary election. I think those facts would cause the city to pause, too.

Either way, it doesn’t look like we’re going to find out any time soon.

T.B.

Delays are not uncommon when it comes to conducting investigations and eventually making arrests. Just because there was one in this instance does not mean "It was a carefully considered and calculated political decision"

Someone once said: "I'm willing to be open minded enough to guess that there are a lot of "facts" in this case that none of us are privy to at this point."

wise words...

Mr. Anonymous, your post of 26 Feb 12:02 PM is one of the most cogent I have ever read on this site. No bs, no feel good philosophy, just a pragmatic review of the situation.

Many appreciate the maverick of Mr. Furstenau but are now unsure of his credibility. No one wins in this situation and I for one will be very happy when we get past this entire episode.

Whoa! Not so fast there. Last time I checked everyone was entitled to their day in court. In the very early stages of every lawsuit the judge has the ability to toss it out if it is just a frivolous complaint. That has not happened, at least yet.

I'm willing to be open minded enough to guess that there are a lot of "facts" in this case that none of us are privy to at this point.

Maybe Mr. Furstenau is 100% right, maybe he is 100% wrong. Maybe the City of Naperville and the conduct of elected, appointed, and hired employees is 100% right, maybe it is 100% wrong. Or maybe the truth is one of many other possibilities?

At this point Mr. Furstenau remains an elected official and enjoys wide support throughout Naperville. He is well respected though I would think most everyone would agree that his reputation has taken a hit as the result of everything that has transpired. Opinions on how much of a hit is probably going to vary from one person.

One aspect of this whole case that has escaped public scrutiny is the conduct and competence of the City of Naperville legal department and it's legal staff. A huge amount of time transpired between when the incident occurred and when an arrest was made. Let's not be naive enough to believe that there were not countless meetings, telephone calls, and emails, discussing what happened and what to do. If you or I had done what was charged we would have been arrested on-the-spot. This was not a simple arrest. It was a carefully considered and calculated political decision. The city manager, department heads, mayor, and most likely some council members were involved with making and approving the decision to make an arrest. Their own analysis paralysis is the only explanation of why it took so long to make an arrest. This was a simple case. And the City of Naperville did not win their case. Now they are in civil, not criminal, law where the rules are different and they will have an even more difficult time winning their case.

How about a Naperville Sun investigation into just how many bad, wrong decision this legal staff has made in recent years? They are directly responsible for wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money, both internally and externally thru outside legal firms on cases that never should have gone to trial. Why isn't the city manager holding the legal staff to any accountability for their legal advice and recommendations? Why doesn't the city council question how much money is being spent each year on legal fees?

Why do we even have a legal department in the first place? They seem to have zero ability to try a case. Everything beyond the most basic legal questions is farmed out to an outside firm. Maybe the best solution would be to put legal services out to a competitive bid and privatize the whole operation. Not that there aren't a few other city departments that would probably perform a lot better if they were privatized to.

Mr. Furstenau should take the chip on his shoulder and his wounded psyche and resign from the Naperville City Council. After that he can nurse his grievances while on his knees digging the dandelions out of his lawn. Or he could organize his sock drawer. Just so he keeps his arguments to himself.

I don't think the increase in funding to fight DF's lawsuit is a surprise. I also don't think it will be the last such increase.

Wouldn’t it be nice to sue someone and then get to help decide how much they get to spend to defend themselves?

T.B.

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