The United States attorney general has filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Joliet in order to stop the municipality's plans to condemn a low-income housing complex, which could lead to the displacement of more than 765 residents. The U.S. attorney general is asking a judge to put a hold on the comdemnation until the city can provide a clear plan that provides "adequate and affordable housing for those that would be displaced", according to the lawsuit.
The suit also alleges that the city is violating federal housing laws and has no plans to put up affordable housing "on a similar scale elsewhere in the city." This is not the first lawsuit filed in dispute of future plans for the housing complex's site. There are also three federal lawsuits in the legal system in relation to Joliet's Evergreen Terrace complex, where most of the residents are African American. From the Tribune report:
In 2009, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has twice ruled
on the Evergreen Terrace case, found that the law was on the city's
side, but named several exceptions, including racial discrimination.
Joliet thinks that a given parcel of land should be put to a public
use, such as a park, and is willing to foot the bill, it is hard to see
any obstacle in federal law," Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote.
the decision also said that "a state or local government is not free to
use its powers in order to discriminate against persons of a particular
As for the city of Joliet's response to the latest legal developments?
"We welcome the lawsuit," said Joliet City Manager Tom Thanas told the Tribune. "We'll have a
neutral party resolving the dispute and assessing the facts, and we
believe the neutral party will see that the city's interest in
protecting the residents' right[s] should prevail."