Roth Fioretti LLC argued its motion to lift the court-ordered stay today in federal court. The motion in federal court requested a lift of the stay order, as a result of the latest construction related to the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park. A Chicago Sun Times article published on August 6, 2018 uncovered the destruction of historic Jackson Park, including the removal of trees, to make way for the Obama Presidential Center. Many residents question the placement of the Center on historic public land.
Earlier this year a lawsuit was filed against the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District. The lawsuit, brought on by plaintiffs Protect Our Parks, and advocates Charlotte Adelman, Maria Valencia, and Jeremiah Jurevis, assert that the city and Park District do not have the authority to use the public parkland for the Obama Presidential Center.
In June 2018, Chicago City Council voted to hand over the historic land to the private Obama Foundation, without a lease agreement or terms set between them. While city council passed this land transfer, no final review has been made by the National Environment Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act on the proposed project– a requirement before anything can proceed at Jackson Park. Even the proposed re-routing of several vital streets that surround the park has been passed by city council, without any direct specifics to taxpayers on how they will fund the $175 million dollar roadwork.
“Since your order of stay in June, the [Obama Foundation] has begun construction at Jackson Park. They’ve moved the track and field out of the center area” attorney Bob Fioretti said to the court. City and Chicago Park District attorneys argued that the new construction was unrelated to the Obama Presidential Center, stating that the new track and field was a separate project on a seperate piece of land in Jackson Park. Fioretti reminded the court that the project is allegedly being paid by the Obama Foundation. “I would like to remind the court that this [track and field] project, $3.5 million dollars, is being paid for by the [Obama] Foundation. This project is joined at the hip” said Fioretti.
The Honorable Judge Robert Blakey made the decision to lift the stay order. He has asked the City and Park District to submit their responses to the original lawsuit by October 22, 2018, with a status hearing also being set for October 24, 2018.