CICERO, Ill., Feb. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Illinois Appellate Court Friday ordered newly appointed Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) Trustee Juan Ochoa to pay $21,202.90 to reimburse the Town of Cicero for costs of a failed lawsuit he filed falsely alleging political harassment in the 2012 election.
Town President Larry Dominick defeated Ochoa in a landslide vote in the Feb. 26, 2013 election garnering nearly 60 percent of votes cast.
Ochoa's lawsuit was dismissed by the Cook County Circuit Court twice before on Dec. 5, 2013 and again on July 21, 2014. Circuit Court Presiding Judge Patrick J. Sherlock described Ochoa's accusations as "devoid of factual allegations."
The Appeals Court was just as harsh in its criticism of Ochoa's lawsuit and legal assertions. Among many points noted in the Appeals Court ruling that was issued Friday, it said Avila misinterpreted past cases that he cited, including the landmark 2013 Garrido V Arena decision.
Attorney Frank Avila Jr., filed Ochoa's lawsuit during the campaign as a political stunt to give Ochoa an election and PR boost, Cicero officials countered at the time.
"Using the courts for political purposes is irresponsible for any person in public service, but to do so purely for the purpose of boosting his election is reprehensible," said Cicero Town Spokesman Ray Hanania. "Ochoa's lawsuit was twice dismissed forcing us to go to court to defend ourselves. The accusations were ridiculous and were thrown out. Circuit Judge Sherlock ordered Ochoa to reimburse the Town. Instead Ochoa chose to be irresponsible and continued this burden."
Hanania said Ochoa lost the election because voters were satisfied with the leadership provided by President Dominick.
Hanania said a letter of demand was sent to Ochoa and his attorney to pay the Town of Cicero the $21,202.90 in costs.
Justice Joy V. Cunningham wrote the Appellate Court decision. The Town of Cicero and its officials and the Cicero Voters Alliance were represented by the Fogarty Law Office, and the firm of Laner Muchin Ltd.
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SOURCE Town of Cicero