The Emanuel administration took a hit in court Thursday over its lawsuit involving the long-term lease for the Park Grill restaurant in Millennium Park.
The city sued the restaurant operators back in 2011 in an attempt to get out of the "sweetheart deal" between the Park Grill and Chicago Park District. The lease was inked under then-Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2003 and allowed the restaurant to get free gas and garbage collection and not pay property taxes.
The Emanuel administration's lawsuit argued, in part, that since the lease involved city property, it was invalid because the city council did not authorize it.
But Cook County Circuit Judge Moshe Jacobius upheld the lease on Thursday.
"It is plain to the Court that the City knew what the Park District was doing and indeed encouraged the erection and operation of the restaurant," the judge explained in the ruling, adding that the city and park district "worked very closely together" at the time on the restaurant's lease.
A lawyer for the Park Grill, Stephen Novack, said the judge's ruling "proved a total victory for the Park Grill owners, showing they have a valid contract and that there was no sweetheart deal."
The Emanuel administration is weighing whether to appeal the judge's decision.
"Today the Court ruled against Chicago's taxpayers, who we believe have been taken advantage of in a sweetheart deal that benefited a select few," Emanuel said in a statement. "This 30-year 'contract' has already cost Chicago taxpayers millions in lost revenue and we stand by our commitment to fight on their behalf. We are reviewing the court's decision to determine what further action we might take."